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By R. N. Reddy

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Because relative humidity has a significant effect on seed moisture content, it is important to understand the relationship between humidity and seed moisture. Regardless of the type of storage conditions, the moisture content of seed eventually comes into equilibrium with the moisture in the surrounding air. The relationship between atmospheric relative humidity and seed moisture content is shown at the right in Figure 1. ~ ~ 10 ] 5 20 40 Relative humidi 80 (ercent) Figure 1. Relationship of vegetable seed moisture content to relative humidity.

Note that once the relative humidity reaches 70%, the moisture content of the seed has reached approximately 13%, the point at which increased respiration and seed storage fungi become a significant problem. Above 70% relative humidity the moisture content rises dramatically. In central Virginia, the relative humidity in a residence or office building during the summer usually averages about 65%, plus or minus 5%. If air conditioning is used, the relative humidity typically ranges between 50 to 60%, depending on how often it runs.

However, in this area, much work still remains to be done. Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Agreement on the application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (The SPS Agreement concluded under GAIT in 1994) came into effect in 1995 for developing international standards to ensure the safety of food for consumers and to prevent the spread of pests or diseases in animals and plants. These measures protect human/ animal life from risks arising from additive contaminants, toxins or diseases-causing organisms in their food.

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