Overview on seed drying beads and how they can be used for drying and storing seeds and horticultural products.
Delivering improved seeds to smallholder farmers in developing countries is an efficient and sustainable method of increasing crop yields and quality. Seed storage can be a major problem because the majority of the world's poor countries are located in the tropics where the combination of high temperature and high relative humidity causes rapid deterioration of seed quality.
These problems can be overcome by drying seeds to low moisture contents using hermetic storage containers and drying beads. Seed dessicant drying beads provide a simple, inexpensive, reusable method for seed drying in humid climates. The drying beads remove water from the air and seeds, absorbing up to 20 to 25% of their initial weight in water, and creating a very low humidity environment. The beads can be subsequently removed and regenerated separately by heating at >200°C for 2 hours to release the absorbed water. A major advantage of bead drying is that it does not depend on the sun or other direct sources of energy and is independent of the ambient humidity.