Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : Seed-borne pathogens are a daily issue for ex situ collection managers who try to solve it using various chemicals more or less harmful to the staff and the plant material stored. The most common physical method for seed sterilisation is moist heat, in contrast to dry heat which is used much less frequently. Consequently, the efficiency of dry heat as disinfection method and the behaviour of seeds undergoing this treatment are currently poorly known, especially for wild species. In this study, seed viability was estimated by performing germination tests according to standard procedures. Germination tests were conducted on 13,200 seeds from 66 wild species of temperate regions belonging to 22 different families. Results indicate that dry seeds exposed to 60°C during 1hour were less infected by seed-borne pathogens in 14% of the cases, whereas no change has been registered in the other cases. For all 66 studied species, no decrease in germination percentage was detected after the heat treatment. Given its positive effect on infection control without affecting seed viability, dry heat treatment as proposed here opens opportunities for seed bank managers, but also for the disinfection of herbarium collections.