Seed pathology involves the study and management of diseases affecting seed production and utilization, as well as disease management practices applied to seeds. In this paper, three aspects of seed pathology are discussed: research innovations in detection of seedborne pathogens and elucidation of their epidemiology; advances in development and use of seed treatments; and progress toward standardization of phytosanitary regulations and seed health testing methods. The application of nucleic-acid based detection methods in seed health testing has been facilitated by integrating conventional or real-time PCR with other technologies (e.g., BIO-PCR, IMS-PCR, MCH-PCR). PCR-based methods and pathogen marker technologies are being applied to epidemiological research on seedborne pathogens, e.g., seed transmission mechanisms, the influence of external biotic and abiotic factors on seed transmission, and tracking progress of seed-transmitted pathogens. Seed treatment use is discussed in terms of the revolutionary expansion in seed-applied insecticide use, impacts of new fungicide active ingredients, and the effects of some seed treatments on crop physiology. International seed trade has been affected significantly by changing phytosanitary regulations, not always based on science. Efforts are underway to revise phytosanitary regulations to reflect pest risk analysis outcomes and to develop standards for seed health testing methods that facilitate safe and efficient international trade in seeds.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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