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PPDC Seed Botany lab

Plant Pest Diagnostics Center - Seed Botany Laboratory

Seed Submission Guidelines

Seed identification samples

  1. Submit all specimens in dry condition (i.e., do not place specimen in alcohol or water).
  2. Place specimen containers (e.g., gelatin capsule, vial, plastic bag, coin envelope, etc.) inside a well-padded box or envelope to prevent damage to the specimen during shipment.
  3. For specimens submitted with a Pest and Damage Record Form, please provide as much information as possible about the collection site and/or origin of the shipment from which the specimen was obtained.
  4. For specimens not submitted with a Pest and Damage Record Form, the following information must be provided by the submitter:
    1. Name of submitter
    2. Address or other contact information
    3. Collection location (if specimen is found in a seed lot, name of seed in which it was found and origin of the seed lot)

Seed quality assessment testing

(e.g., purity analysis, germination, noxious weed seed exam, moisture determination, etc.)

Seed quality testing begins with the sampling process.  The laboratory analysis can show only the quality of the sample submitted.  To insure the sample submitted for testing is representative of the seed lot to be tested, it is recommended seed lot sampling be conducted using procedures outlined in the Association of American Seed Control Officials (AASCO) Handbook on Seed Sampling or the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) Rules.

Types of seed testing procedures used by the CDFA Seed Laboratory

  • Association of Official Seed Analysts (AOSA) Rules for Testing Seeds
  • International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) Rules for Seed Testing
  • Federal Seed Act (FSA) Seed Testing Regulations
  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) Methods and Procedures for Testing Seed

Note: For samples requiring AOSA or FSA laboratory testing, use the AASCO sampling procedures, and for samples requiring ISTA laboratory testing, use the ISTA sampling procedures.

When submitting a sample for seed quality testing please do the following
  1. Obtain a representative composite sample of the seed lot to be tested.
  2. Place sample containers (e.g., cloth bag, envelope, etc.) inside a well-padded box or envelope to prevent damage to the samples during shipment.
  3. For seed treated with pesticides or when seed moisture determination is required, enclose sample within a plastic bag before placing in the cloth bag or envelope. 
  4. Clearly mark each sample container with the kind of seed, lot number, pesticide treatment (if applicable) and other identifying marks.
  5. Attach all accompanying paperwork to the outside of the sample container.  The following information must be provided:
    1. Name and address of company requesting testing services
    2. Billing address, if different from above
    3. Name, phone number, fax number and e-mail address of contact person
    4. Kind of seed
    5. Variety name (if known)
    6. Lot number
    7. Other identifying information
    8. Lot size
    9. Seed treatment
    10. Inspector’s identification number and employer (if sample is drawn by a government official)
    11. Tests requested
    12. Testing procedures required (AOSA, ISTA, FSA, CFIA)
    13. Country to which seed will be exported (if applicable)
    14. Special instructions (if applicable)
For further information on seed lot sampling please contact:
  • John Heaton, Senior Environmental Scientist Supervisor, Seed Regulatory Program, 916 403-6715
  • Ruben Arias, Environmental Scientist, Riverside District, 951 312-7892
  • Chris Banzhof, Environmental Scientist, Sacramento District, 916 996-9923
  • Leo Cortez, Environmental Scientist, Riverside District, 951 784-8906
  • Carl Pfeiffer, Environmental Scientist, Redding District, 916 224-2425
  • Marko Sladovich, Associate Agricultural Biologist, Fresno District, 209 445-5033
  • Or, contact your local County Agricultural Commissioner office.
Forms to use when submitting a sample to the Seed Laboratory (PDF format)