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Antonio R. Franco anrodri at cica.es
Tue Jul 2 06:50:11 EST 1991

Dear Networkers: 
I have a very useful hint to sterilize Arabidopsis and tobacco 
seeds I want share with the network. It was suggested to me by
Mark Holland, Biochemistry Department, Columbia, Missouri (by the
way, thanks, Mark). At the beginning I could not believe it. Now,
it had become in my method of choice, because it works for me
thousands of times better than the combined method of imbibing
seeds into an ethanol and clorox solutions. I use a microwave
oven. I take some seeds (not many) and put them into a small
paper envelope. Try to avoid those having metal parts. Do not
seal them, let the air to escape. Once the seeds are inside, I
shake the envelope a little bit to let the seeds spread all over
the envelope (trying to separate them). Then, I turn the
microwave on to maximum power for 8-15 min (depends upon the
microwave power), and repeat the treatment after 5-8 min for
another 8-15 min. You can use several envelopes at the same time,
but do not pile them. Hot can make them into fire!. Oil and water
content of these seeds are low enough to avoid an excessive
warming, and they survive the treatment. In my hands, fungi and
bacterial contaminations were gone without significantly loosing
the percentage of seeds that germinate (in fact I could say that
I do not kill any seed!). You should try several times before
getting the optimal conditions for your ovens. I do not guarantee
that you can get rid of all kind of "hard" contaminants, but I
think is worthy to try it. This method, however, is not useful
for big seeds, like soybeans, pea, etc. I presume the water and
oil content of these seeds are too high. 
I would be pleased to answer any questions, and to receive your 
own experiences on this respect. 
Good luck to everybody 
Antonio R. Franco 
Dpto Bioquimica, Biologia Molecular y Fisiologia
Facultad de Ciencias 
E-14071 CORDOBA 
Alternative E-mail address: BF1RODRI at CC.UCO.ES.BITNET

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