Seed health testing workshop highlights best practices

The IRRI Seed Health and Logistics Unit (SHU) organized the 2022 IRRI SHU Seed Health Testing workshop from November 7 to 11, 2022. Bureau of Plant Industry - Central Post-Entry Quarantine Station (BPI-CPEQS), Bureau of Plant Industry - National Seed Quality Control Services (BPI-NSQCS), AfricaRice Germplasm Health Unit,  and IRRI SHU representatives participated in a five-day workshop which aimed to improve hands-on laboratory practices for the detection of bacteria and nematodes on rice seeds, combined with Best Practices on data management, safety, quarantine requirements and quality management. It featured a roundtable for networking and collaboration for mapping capacity gaps and challenges toward enhanced diagnostic capacity and set the basis for collaborations in new method validation projects and proficiency tests under ISTA standards.

The participants presented their existing technical protocols for seed health diagnostics  and documented information, as well as personal experiences, risks and opportunities ,and plans for enhancing compliance to national regulations and conforming to international  standards. Guest scientists Gilda Jonson and Marian Hanna Nguyen introduced their research work in plant pathology and host resistance with the participants.

Proposed plans for 2023-2024 include the creation of a data hub under the NSQCS Regional Office, the nomination of the SHU research manager into the technical group for seed certification and seed standards in the Philippines, facilitated sharing of biomaterials for diagnostic methods, collaborations in the publication of new and updated diagnostic procedures, and further capacity building and knowledge-sharing from the global networks to support and update current procedures and protocols.

The participants also enjoyed a tour through facilities and fields including the Plant Growth Facility - Seed Treatment (PGF-ST), the seed warehouse under Seed Warehousing and Inventory Management (SWIM) headed by Allan Salabsabin, the Zeigler Experiment Station (ZES) - Phytotron and Postharvest facilities headed by Jun Correa and Rodney De Chavez and the post-entry quarantine dedicated area.

A new edition of this workshop is expected to happen next September 2023.

This workshop was supported by the CGIAR Conservation and Use of Genetic Resources (Genebanks) Initiative and the Plant Health and Rapid Response to Protect Food Security and Livelihoods Initiative.