The longevity of corn seed in cold storage

The oldest of the Mangelsdorf collection of Latin American corn seed, now about 40 years in cold storage in sealed glass bottles held at 40 F, appears to be dying off at a slightly higher rate than the 35-year-old seed stored in the same way. We had not expected this seed to live indefinitely and it is important to know how soon life begins to taper off.
 
 
Germination Percent from 4 Good Kernels
Age
0
25
50
75
100
Total
40 yrs
37
16
18
8
22
51
35 yrs
17
20
21
26
15
143

Because of the shortage of this precious seed, no further germination tests are planned. We have sent 1,792 samples of 5 kernels each to Dr. M. M. Goodman of North Carolina State University. He will attempt to increase the seed by hand pollination in Florida this winter.

Walton C. Galinat and Josephine Starbuck


Please Note: Notes submitted to the Maize Genetics Cooperation Newsletter may be cited only with consent of the authors.

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