Seed Quality

Quality Assurance

Health, Purity and Vigour

Monsanto completes nearly 500,000 quality checks on our seed each year. This rigorous testing is the centerpiece of our comprehensive quality assurance system. A single seed lot can be subjected to  several dozen quality measurements. All commercially sold seed by Monsanto is tested every six months for germination.
Several of our labs have been accredited by government auditors, such as the National Seed Health System in the United States and Naktuinbouw, the Dutch Inspection Service for Horticulture. To earn this prestigious status we have proven that our test results are reliable, reproducible and independent from commercial influence.

Germination and Vigour Testing

Completed in specialised growth chambers and greenhouses, these tests provide one of the most important quality measurements of seeds. High germination percentages are indicative of health, vigour and the overall quality of the seeds. Our procedures meet or exceed international standards.

Physical Purity

Using magnifiers and microscopes, technicians examine seed lots to detect weed seeds or other impurities.
Any irregularities are documented and the seed re-conditioned or discarded, if needed.

Identity and Purity Testing

It is impossible to identify a plant variety simply by looking at its seed. With 3,500+ products, Monsanto has developed highly accurate methods to confirm identity and measure the percentage of hybridity of harvested seeds. Using equipment similar to what is found in sophisticated medical labs, Monsanto technicians can even identify specific products via their DNA fingerprint. When needed, field tests, called “grow-outs”, are used to visually confirm that the plants have the right phenotype.

Seed Health

Destructive bacteria and plant viruses can be transmitted on seeds and Monsanto takes extreme caution to prevent infection during seed production and afterwards. Random samples of seeds (usually 30,000 or 50,000 seeds per lot) are drawn from seed lots and tested for the presence of pathogens that are known to be problematic.


In addition to grow-outs, where seeds are planted in greenhouses and tested for disease symptoms, the team uses a number of highly sensitive tests to find seeds that may carry pathogens. This may include enzymebased ELISA assays and DNA-based PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests. Monsanto has made many breakthroughs in the area of seed health, and for the benefit of the industry has often shared that knowledge.

Quality Assurance Research

Monsanto has a special team of quality experts whose job is to find new and innovative ways to improve the health and quality of seed. They study the physiological, horticultural and genetic factors that affect seed quality. We then use this information to guide our product development as well as the processes and technologies employed in seed production and operations.

Good Seed and Plant Practices (GSPP)

Monsanto supports GSPP, an Industry initiative from seed companies and plant raisers covering seeds and young plants. GSPP is a hygiene and prevention system focusing on Clavibacter michiganensis spp. Michiganensis (Cmm) in tomato and rootstock for protected crops, strictly following state of the art standards and protocols with independent audits.
The goal of GSPP is to improve along the propagation chain the management and the prevention of Cmm risk. Zero risk with Cmm doesn’t exist. The success of GSPP depends on the involvement of all partners in the chain, from seed producer until young plant raisers.

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