Is Oxygen Free Packaging safe for Seeds? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I bought some "open Pollenated" seeds at the SJ Y2K expo yesterday. The seeds come packaged in a sealed "electro static free" bag that is used for Semiconductor shipping. Supposedly the bag has an oxygen adsorber pack (the bag is metal "shiney" coated). I am not clear on whether it is better to store the seeds in an oxygen free atmosphere which will keep the seeds free from moisture and posible pre germination, or if I run a risk of reducing the germination rate due to oxygen starvation? Opinions and advise are requested.


-- helium (, April 08, 1999


helium - I have read elsewhere that seed is not to be stored with oxy absorbers. (However, I have no personal expertise on the issue.) With the seed I got, it was suggested that I put the seed packets in mason jars with an equal volume of dessicant. Then after a week, remove the dessicants and store in the freezer.

-- marsh (, April 08, 1999.

You are not gonna hurt the seed sfrom "O2 Starvation". If seeds from the time of Pharoh, stored in sealed jars, didn't have a problem with starvation, your seeds won't. Besides, the O2 CO2 process happens in the LEAVES.



-- Chuck, a night driver (, April 09, 1999.

All seeds for planting are alive. They must not be deprived of oxygen, or they will die! However they must be stored in a cool, dry environment! DO NOT USE OXYGEN ABSORBERS WITH STORING SEEDS!

-- smitty (, April 09, 1999.

I deal with alot of seed companies each year, none of them talk of low oxygen in seed storage. To quote GrowerTalks on Plugs 2 pg 100 "The storage conditions seed is exposed to determine how fast it moves along the vigor and viability curves." pg101 "In 1960 J.F. Harrington outlined the following rules of thumb for seed storage: 1) Every 1% decrease in seed moisture doubles the storage life.

2) Every 10F (5C) decrease in seed storage temperature doubles the storage life.

3) the sum in degrees F and percent relative humidity of good storage conditions should be less than 100.

Proper storage conditions maintain relative humidity levels between 20 and 40%, giving corresponding seed moisture content of 5 to 8%, a range that's safe for many seed. When seed moisture content drops too low (less that 5%), storage life and seed vigor may decline."

"seed moisture contents above 11% promte growth of fungi and insects. Most seeds can't germinate until seed moisture contents rise above 25%"

"Currently, most growers store and ship seed in hermetically sealed, plastic-laminated foil packets and bags, or vacuum-packed cans. These containers provide excellent barriers against moisture moving in or out. Therefore, seed must be at the proper moisture content before being packed, and the air in the containers should have an approppriately low RH."

"simply closing the foil packet and placing it in a refrigerator won't remove extra moisture the seed has absorbed from the air.Growers should place seed in a water-vapor-proof container that can be sealed (such as Tupperware or Mason jar) with a thin layer of silica gel desiccant in the bottom, and store it in the refrigerator"

The above is the way I store seed and has worked very well for 1 or 2 years, I don't have much experence after that time.

I only Know of seed companies useing low O2 to store Pre-Germinated seed.

Any one else Know about this I'd love to learn more?

-- Greenthumb G.I. (greenthumb@i.g.i.), April 09, 1999.

I received my order of sprouting seeds, all vacuum-packed in clear heavy plastic. The company literature suggests keeping the seeds in the vacuum-packing until ready to sprout them, and says the seeds can be stored this way for a few years. The company rep told me she thought their vacuum-packing was close to 0% oxygen, but she wasn't sure. (The other benefit she mentioned for the vacuum-packing is to protect the seeds from moisture and pre-germination.)

I then called VacMaster, a manufacturer of vacuum-packing devices, to find out how low the oxygen is in vacuum-packing. They told me this: Commercial vacuum-packing is measured in "inches per mercury" which is a measure of the amount of pressure. Commercially rated vacuum-packing machines achieve 21 inches per mercury, minimum. (VacMaster's all do 24 or better.) The maximum is 30, which is perfect and non-achievable on earth; the best achievable is 29.95. I asked him about translating this into the % oxygen achieved and he wasn't sure. But I figure it this way, that if 21 inches per mercury is two-thirds of the way to 30, then it would mean that two-thirds of the oxygen has been removed. If air is 20% oxygen, and it's reduced by two-thirds, that's about 6.5% oxygen. For commercial vacuum packing, then, it would yield 6.5% oxygen or lower, depending on the machine that packed it, all the way down to close to 0%.

From the above I'd conclude that low oxygen is fine for seed storage (the co. wouldn't recommend storing 'em that way if they thought it would affect viability). When I opened some packages, they whooshed loudly. It was a strong seal.

Oxy absorbers give an environment of .05% oxygen. This is very low, but based on the above thinking, if it was packed that way it's probably safe to keep it that way. At least it seems so, so far.

-- Debbie (, April 09, 1999.

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