Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2017Peer reviewedOpen access

Flotation techniques to improve viability of Juniperus polycarpos seed lots

Daneshvar, Abolfazl; Tigabu, Mulualem; Karimidoost, Asaddollah; Oden, Per Christer


The germination of freshly collected Juniperus polycarpos (K. Koch) seeds is very low and attributed to the large proportion of nonviable seeds in the seed lots. Thus, the aim of this study was to improve seed lot quality by removing nonviable seeds using two flotation techniques: incubation-drying-separation (IDS) and modified specific gravity (MSG) separation. We examined different IDS conditions (the specific incubation time, subsequent drying time and sorting media) for effectively sorting out nonviable seeds; and tested the feasibility of modified SG separation, which involved soaking seeds in water for a certain period before sorting in different concentrations of sucrose solution. Viable seeds were expected to absorb and metabolically bind more water during soaking than dead seeds could, and hence be sorted effectively depending on the viscosity of the sucrose solution. The viability of the seeds that floated or sank was determined in a topographical tetrazolium chloride (TTC) test. For the IDS trial, 7 days incubation followed by 9 h of drying and sedimentation in pure water or 200 g center dot L-1 sucrose solution identified, respectively, 75 and 82 % of the seeds as viable (sunken) seeds. For the MSG trail, 77 % viable seeds were recovered in the sunken fraction when seeds were soaked for 48 h then immediately sorted in 600 g center dot L-1 sucrose solution. In both cases, the loss of viable seeds in the discarded floating fraction was only 4 %. The results demonstrate that both IDS and MSG separation techniques substantially improved seed lot viability, but MSG separation is simple and needs no modern seed handling facility, and its efficacy relies on seed mass (due to the initial soaking) and the specific density and viscosity of the flotation medium.


Incubation-drying-separation (IDS); Iran; Juniperus polycarpos; Specific gravity (SG) separation; Seed viability; Seed sorting system

Published in

Journal of Forestry Research
2017, Volume: 28, number: 2, pages: 231-239