Crop Genebank Knowledge Base

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Crops Wheat Conservation Health diagnosis

Seed health diagnosis of bread wheat, durum wheat, triticale and related cereals genetic resources

Contributors to this page: CIMMYT - Wheat, Mexico (Thomas Payne), ICARDA, Syria (Ahmed Amri) with inputs also received from CIMMYT - Maize, Mexico (Suketoshi Taba), USDA - National Small Grains Collection, Aberdeen, Idaho, USA (Harold Bockelmann), CGN, Wageningen, The Netherlands (website) and IPK, Gatersleben, Germany (Helmut Knűpffer).

Recommended procedures to detect important quarantine seed pathogens

Conducting a field inspection (photo: ICARDA)


Xanthomonas translucens pv. undulosa (YDC agar and semi-selective XTS agar).


Tilletia spp. (seed washing, filter test).
Ustilago spp. (seed washing, filter test).


Barley stripe mosaic virus (BSMV), [ELISA and TBIA (tissue-blot immunoassay)].

Testing protocols

Applying the latest laboratory methods, CIMMYT staff insure that seed entering and leaving the center is disease-free (photo: CIMMYT)

Test the accession seed samples before the accession is processed for inclusion in the active genebank collection, or prior to planting in the field to prevent the transfer or establishment of diseases or pests.

  • Seed health should be tested by an independent, internal seed health laboratory, or via contracted, accredited external laboratories. 
  • Policies and procedures for the detection of seed-borne pathogens should be undertaken in collaboration with the relevant national plant protection and quarantine authorities. 
  • Only material that is free of quarantined seed-borne pathogens should be permitted for entry into a collection, as this practice will allow the subsequent distribution of disease-free material.

Recording information during seed health diagnosis

The following information should be recorded for each step:

  • Accession number.
  • Date of diagnosis.
  • Diagnosis record number.
  • Pathogen(s) tested.
  • Method of pathogen test(s).
  • Result of test (using appropriate scoring methods).
  • Overall pathogen assessment (approved, conditionally approved, or rejected).

Other information

Click here for more detailed outputs from the page on the safe transfer of germplasm on this website.

See also the list of pests and diseases for this crop listed in the crop regeneration guidelines.

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International Agricultural Research Centres who worked together to make this site possible:
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