Agricultural Process Engineering by R. N. Reddy

By R. N. Reddy

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Some seed crops, especially herb and flowers seeds are produced in such small 38 Agricultural Process Engineering quantity (and have such small seeds) that it is impractical to use a machine for threshing. Also flowers and other seed crops, if left to dry on canvas or a tarp, naturally dehisce (shed) much of their seed. The remaining amount of seed can be released by flailing or rolling, or other non-mechanical means. It is difficult to locate low-cost, low-tech shredders for small-scale seed threshing.

These types of fruits have a gel surrounding the seed that contains germination Seed Processing Techniques 35 inhibitors. The presence of the gel also makes handling and drying of the seed difficult. Fermentation is a natural process that occurs to a small extent as fruits decompose. When fermentation is done in a controlled manner, the microorganisms, principally yeast, break down the gel thus releasing the seed while killing bacteria and fungi that cause most seed-borne diseases. The temperature and length of fermentation are important.

One caveat: seed cycled in and out of the freezer too many times without redrying may cause degradation of germination. Effect of Seed Moisture and Humidity Seed moisture has a greater effect than temperature on seed longevity. Most seeds also follow some "rules of thumb" regarding moisture and longevity. The general relationship is that for each one percent increase in seed moisture, longevity decreases by half. This rule applies to seed with moisture content between 5 and 13%. Above 13% moisture content, seed storage fungi and increased heating due to respiration cause longevity to decline at a faster rate.

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