Seed science of vegetable crops

Course title:

Seed science of vegetable crops

Course code:




In-class hours



Laboratory work/Tutorials:


Self-preparation hours

Practical training:




Total hours:




Study cycle:

Bachelor, Master, PhD


Winter & Summer


Faculty of Horticulture and Viticulture

Name of the lecturer(s):

Prof. Nikolay Panayotov, PhD

Mode of delivery:

Face-to-face, distance learning or a combination of  both


Knowledge of vegetable crops, botany, physiology, biochemistry, genetic, general breeding, general agriculture

Learning outcomes of the course unit:

In the course Seed science of vegetable crops, students acquire knowledge about the whole live cycle of the seeds, from the moment of their formation until to germination, sprouting and seedling development. The influence of main environmental conditions and technological factors on the quantity and quality of seed production. The main units of lectures and exercises include the stages of formation, anatomical structure, physiological characteristics, chemical components, physician and physic- mechanical properties of seeds.  These questions are discussed according to specifics peculiarities of different species. Their significance on the sowing quality also underlined. Of the separate stages of germination in depends on their life status, aging, chemical composition, as the main intended purpose of seeds, also are paying sufficient attention in lectures and practices exercises.

The problems concerning to heteroblasty, post-harvest ripening, dormancy, aging of seeds and loss of viability are discussed in detail. The possibilities for predicting of some viability processes and prolonged of period with high viability of seeds are studied. The key points, parameters, indexes and scientific fundaments and different methods of quality control of the seeds and the possibilities for their application and accuracy are considered.

Course contents:


1. Formation, development and anatomical structure of seeds of vegetable crops in relation to their viability. Factors influencing seed quality during its formation. Species differences of the stages of seed development are associated to the occurrence of vitality.   3 hours                                                                                            

2. Influence of the ecology-geographic and technology factors on seeds production of vegetable crops and their effects on the formation, development and viability of seeds.  3 hours                                                                                      

3. Chemical composition of vegetable seeds during their life cycle and in their appearance different states and level of viability. The content of protein, fats, starch, cellulose, carbohydrates depends on species belonging. Their significance for vitality and about quality determination.   3 hours                                                                                 

4. Physiological properties of vegetable seeds. Specifics changes depending on: stage of formation, vitality state, aging, maturity, and in post-harvest period. Respiration, enzyme activity, moisture, content and forms (types) of state of the water, etc, and their significance about the normal functioning of their overall life cycle.   3 hours                                                                                           

5. Physic sand physic-mechanical properties of seeds of vegetable crops:  friction, surface character of the seed lots, trauma, self-resistance, absorption ability, heat capacity, heat conductivity, temperature resistance, electroconductivity, optical properties etc. depending on status and species belonging and in relation to the storage, handling, and use them to determine and to the prediction of their viability. Moisture - equilibrium and critical and its distribution in seeds and in seeds lots. 3 hours

6. Maturity and ripening of the seeds. Heteroblasty - physiological and biochemical basis, reasons, factors influencing to the different quality of the seeds. Post-harvest ripening - changes, occurring in state and viability of seeds from various vegetable crops. 3 hours

7. Dormancy of vegetable seeds. Agronomic significance in different vegetable crops. Types of dormancy. Physiological state and chemical composition during dormancy.  Ways and methods to overcome and eliminate the dormancy. 3 hours 

8. Anabiosis, aging and deterioration of vegetable seeds - morphological, physiological and biochemical changes. Causes and condition of ageing. Options for preventing and reducing the damages form aging and deterioration of seeds from vegetable crops. Prolongation of the period of their vitality, longevity.  3 hours

9. Stages of germination and particularities of seeds of vegetable crops. Necessary factors for germination. Species specificity in metabolism of germination seeds. Deviation from normal germination of vegetable seeds. Special features of germination of seed depending on their vitality state and ageing. 3 hours                                                                                         

10. Methods and analyzes for determination and predicting of seed vitality potential. Test about assessment of vigour, quality and state of seeds. Specifics for pre-sowing treatment for improving sowing parameters of seeds depending on species belonging, content of chemical components age and vitality state.  3 hours                                                                                            


Seminars and practical exercises

1. Stages of germination of seeds with different vital state. Observation and studying of specific behaviors and particularities.    3 hours

2. Observation of deviation from normal development of sprouts depending on species belonging, maturity, age, deterioration and degradation of seeds with different chemical components. 3 hours 3. Studying and application of different methods for estimation of seed viability. Determination of viability of vegetable seeds by TTC method.  3 hours

4. Morphological and physician indexes of germinated seeds and their significance for vigour determination. Different method for vigour assessment. 3 hours

5. Requirements of ISTA of qualification of seeds from vegetable crops, methods and equipment. Organization and main documents for seed testing.  3 hours

Recommended or required reading:

1.      Black, M. et al. (2006). Seed encyclopedia, CABI Publishing.

2.      Copeland, L.O., McDonald, M. B. (2005). Seed Science and Technology, Kluwer Academic Publishers.

3.      Raymond, A. T. George (2004). Vegetable Seed Production. CABI Publishing

Planned learning activities and teaching methods:

Lecture, presentation, tutorials, conversation, discussion, exercises, practical training, multimedia presentation.

Assessment methods and criteria:

Exercises evaluation, written exam