Seed Biotechnology Center
Seed Biotechnology Center
Seed Biotechnology Center
University of California
Seed Biotechnology Center

Seed Biology and Quality

Delivering improved varieties and crop protection through high quality seed is a vital component of modern agricultural production systems. It is critical that seed producers and marketers have an understanding of the biological factors that contribute to the development and maintenance of seed health, vigor and viability, and how those qualities are measured. This course presents the scientific background and technical protocols for assessing, enhancing and maintaining high seed quality and updates participants on new information in these topics, including seed pathology and enhancement. The course targets quality assurance professionals in the seed industry, new employees, consultants, breeders and seed producers to extend and update their knowledge. 

Course Topics

  • Seed development and maturation
  • Seed vigor and viability
  • Seed health and phytosanitation 
  • Seed testing
  • Seed enhancement
  • Seed longevity and storage
  • Seed biotechnology
  • Seed pathology
Preliminary Lab topic areas:
  • Standardized seed health testing methods
  • Certification of labs for seed health testing
  • Testing treated vs. non-treated seed (fungicide, bactericide, biological, organic & disinfectant treatments)
  • Molecular vs. ‘biological’ seed health assays (indirect vs. direct assays)
  • Location of infection of seeds by plant pathogens
  • Sample size for seed health testing, seed sampling protocols

Register for Seed Biology and Quality

2 RST credits available to course participants!

Seed Biology and Quality Instructors

Deborah Meyer
Deborah Meyer is Program Supervisor of the Seed Science, Nematology, and Plant Pathology Laboratories at the California Department of Food and Agriculture Plant Pest Diagnostics Center. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in plant biology from California State University Sacramento (CSUS). She has worked in the field of seed quality testing for forty years and is accredited by the Society of Commercial Seed Technologists (SCST) as a Registered Seed Technologist and by the Association of Official Seed Analysts (AOSA) as a Certified Seed Analyst. Ms. Meyer’s interests are in seed identification, seed quality assessment method development, and developing educational materials related to seed identification and purity analysis.

Kent J. Bradford, Professor, Department of Plant Sciences and Director, Seed Biotechnology Center, University of California, Davis, CA, USA. Kent received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biochemistry and Horticulture from Michigan State University and received his Ph.D. in Plant Physiology from UC Davis in 1981. Kent is the founding Director of the Seed Biotechnology Center, interim Director of the World Food Center and a professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis. Dr. Bradford, as Academic Director of the SBC, oversees, promotes and conducts the outreach, education and research activities of the Center. His research is focused on the development, maintenance, and expression of seed quality; plant water relations; developmental and growth regulation.


Phyllis Himmel, Director, Collaboration for Plant Pathogen Strain Identification (CPPSI)
Phyllis Himmel, Director, Collaboration for Plant Pathogen Strain Identification (CPPSI). Phyllis joined the UCD Seed Biotechnology Center in July 2015 to lead the seed industry funded CPPSI. She brings 25 years of experience in disease resistance discovery and development, research leadership, product discovery and development in the Agricultural Sciences. Phyllis received her MS and PhD in Plant Pathology from the University of Arizona. After a 3 year USDA/ARS Post Doc researching WSBMV in hard red winter wheat at the University of Illinois, Phyllis joined the Asgrow (later Seminis, Monsanto) Vegetable Seed Company as a research pathologist. She established and led a program to identify and develop resistance in vegetables to viral pathogens, eventually leading the global pathology team of 64 scientists and staff as Director of Research Pathology. While at Marrone Bio Innovations, Phyllis held personnel and product management roles in the discovery and development of plant and microbe based biopesticides.

Riad Baalbaki, Senior Seed Botanist, Plant Pest Diagnostics Center, California Department of Food and Agriculture
Riad Baalbaki, Senior Seed Botanist, Plant Pest Diagnostics Center, California Department of Food and Agriculture, Sacramento, CA, USA. Areas of specialization include seed viability and vigor determinations, as well as laboratory methods development for routine seed quality testing. His current research focuses on exploring the use of automated monitoring and data collection systems for identifying universal indicators of seed vigor, with emphasis on radicle growth measurements.”


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