Seed quality testing involves both the function of the Official Seed Testing Station for England and Wales, and commercial services to growers and their advisors. Accredited by the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA), the OSTS provides critical support to the statutory systems for Defra and the UK Seeds Industry. Using standardized and precise techniques and extensive specialized knowledge, the OSTS and related services combine expertise on seed sampling, seed biology, and seed purity. This capability can be linked to field-based services checking emergence and vigour in different soil types, and investigations on seed ageing.
Seed pathology focuses on seed health testing, potato tuber health, soil testing for various pathogenic agents, and a wider 'Plant Disease Clinic' service diagnosing problems in the growing crop. Backed by NIAB research pathologists, the diagnostic unit can cover major and minor crop species and ornamental species, and provide interpretation and advice on results.