Hot Water Treatments to Sanitize Vegetable Seeds

This 12th edition, hosted at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, in collaboration with the Irish Seed Savers Association (ISSA), was a remarkable convergence of knowledge, experience, and expertise. Held from October 26th to 28th, it brought together over 100 participants who shared a common vision of a diverse and resilient food system. Participants included farmers, breeders, scientists, civil society organizations, and citizens.

The program was rich and diverse, featuring 15 workshops and plenary sessions covering a wide array of topics, ranging from key issues on policy and legislation, including New Breeding Techniques (NBTs), the critical aspects of Seed Marketing Reform, and Farmers’ Rights, to sessions dedicated to Culinary Breeding and Seed Quality. But the forum went beyond intellectual exchanges and workshops. Following the spirit of EC-LLD to serve as a platform to foster exchange and promote action, it provided ample opportunities for networking, collaboration, and relationship building. Attendees had the chance to connect during social dinners and explore firsthand the practical applications of dynamic seed management through field visits and seeds exchange

Liveseeding hosted a 3h webinar entitled “Hot Water Treatments to Sanitize Vegetable Seeds” on Tuesday, March 26th, co-organised by Bingenheimer Saatgut AG (DE), the French Organic Food and Farming Institute (ITAB, FR) and the European Coordination Let’s Liberate Diversity (EC-LLD, BE). People from 31 countries had registered for the webinar. Registrations included representatives of Community Seed Banks (30%), seed companies producing exclusively organic seed (15%), seed companies producing partly organic seed (10%) and researchers (30%). 84 participants attended. 

The webinar began with a brief introduction by Stephanie Klaedtke (ITAB). Jelena Baćanović-Šišić, plant pathologist at Bingenheimer Saatgut AG, then gave theoretical and practical insights into hot water treatments, based on the company’s years of experience. Participants actively involved in the extensive question & answer session. They particularly appreciated the practical advice and tipps & tricks that were shared from Bingenheimer’s experience. Based on Bingenheimer’s inputs and participants’ questions, both the potential of hot water treatments and its technical limitations became very clear. Indeed, protocols need to be adapted to each individual seed lot. A shared interest among several participants emerged as regards the effects of hot water treatment on the overall seed microbiota, which also includes beneficial microbes. This is a topic that needs further research.

Based on this webinar, an online training module on hot water seed treatments will be built and made available by the Liveseeding project. A compendium of seed sanitation practices is also planned, to continue providing organic seed companies and community seed banks with relevant knowledge and practical tools to ensure seed health. 

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