Seed Drying With Desiccant Dehumidifiers

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Seeds are preserved to increase their life for use in replanting, research and food consumption. The purpose of their preservation determines the final moisture content reduction to be achieved and the heat levels applied in the seed drying process. Generally, the lower the moisture content of the seed the longer the seed life, and the higher the temperature the seeds are dried at the lower the germination potential.

Seed drying should reach 15 percent equilibrium relative humidity for long term storage and for seeds to withstand freezing, attacks by pathogens, and the likelihood of germination. Ideally, the process should be carried out within 24 hours of harvesting.

There are many seed drying methods including incubator drying, drying cabinets, desiccant drying and charcoal drying.

In cases of drying large quantities of seeds, a dedicated drying room is the most suitable option. Using a desiccant dehumidifier will achieve the 15 percent relative humidity and 15C temperature needed to reduce the seed moisture content to below 20 percent. The benefits of a desiccant dehumidifier are the portability to move it around the room and its ability to operate efficiently in cool conditions.

With moderate quantities of seeds, a dehumidified drying cabinet can reduce the moisture content to a safe level for sealed storage. A dehumidified drying cabinet is an entirely sealed system which prevents outside air from mixing with the dehumidified air.

A desiccant is used to achieve the dehumidification required for this seed drying method. Moist air is passed through a desiccant, which is usually in the form of silica gel, which absorbs the moisture out of the air. Silica gel has the capacity to reduce the relative humidity in the air to a very low level which forces the moisture out of the seeds.

Over time the desiccant will accumulate moisture which can reduce the dehumidification effectiveness. To keep the desiccant dry, a flow of heated air is passed through the silica gel to be redried for effective dehumidification. The moisture extracted from the gel is dispelled into the air outside of the drying enclosure.

The purpose of seed drying is to ensure a safe level of moisture content for storage. When carried out properly and in a timely manner, seed drying can produce quality products that prevent heat build-up from natural respiration of stored seeds, mould growth, insect infestation, discolouring, loss of germination and loss of freshness.

In addition to keeping relative humidity low in the drying process, storing conditions of the dried seeds also best need to be in low humidity to prevent them from regaining moisture.

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This article was published on Tuesday 11 September, 2012.

Back to main topic: Onion / Seed Drying and Storage
Onion Storage With Desiccant Dehumidifiers
How to Dry Onions
Using Desiccant Dehumidifiers to Store Seeds

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