National Seed Testing Station (SNES)

The SNES is the National Reference Laboratory in France for seed quality analysis for seed import and export. The station contributes to the implementation of seed certification regulations and facilitates national and international seed trade.


The SNES is the National Reference Laboratory in France for seed quality analysis for seed import and export. The station contributes to the implementation of seed certification regulations and facilitates national and international seed trade.

It carries out a range of regulatory activities:

  • carrying out official seed analysis and testing for all species
  • providing services for private companies in the seed sector
  • monitoring the network of seed testing laboratories in France
  • innovating, developing, and validating testing methods
  • representing France in international technical bodies to promote France’s position and expertise.


You can consult all tests and services : All our field and forage tests, All our vegetables, ornamentals, fruits, aromatics tests

Organisation and resources

The SNES is a technical department of GEVES entirely dedicated to seeds and seedlings, providing pioneering expertise since 1971. It comprises 4 specialised divisions:

  • Physical analysis
  • Seed health
  • Germination
  • Customer service and sampling


The station’s resources include 7500m² of laboratories, 73 permanent staff and approximately 28 short-term contract staff.


Examples of innovative material include:


Physical analysis laboratory

Main activities:

  • Evaluate the physical quality of seeds
  • Develop and improve testing methods
  • Organise workshops and publish technical documents

Human resources:

  • 21 people – 5 teams:
    • Purity and micro-cleaning
    • Purity and dust testing
    • Purity, moisture content and radiography
    • Cytology: determination of ploidy level and identification of species
    • Botany: expertise on seeds and seedlings

Specialised equipment:

  • National reference collection of 17,000 species of seed
  • 757 m² laboratory (radiography, botany, micro-cleaning)
  • Faxitron x-ray system model MX-20DC12 (20 μm focal spot)
  • Heubach Dustmeter
  • Flow cytometer
  • ID.SEED®
Pathology laboratory

Main activities:

  • Evaluate seed health
  • Evaluate variety resistance
  • Develop pathosystems
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of treatment products
  • Monitor interlaboratory tests
  • Research projects
  • Develop and improve methods
  • Training/visits
  • Expertise (audits, diagnosis)

Human resources:

  • 36 people divided into 2 teams: Resistance tests/health tests

Specialised equipment:

  • 21 growth chambers (with light/temperature/humidity settings), a total of 216m²
  • 564m² laboratory
  • Specialised machines: ELISA cleaner and reader, 3 extractors, 4 types of seed grinder, Kort for the extraction of nematodes from soil, automated culture media preparator, Autoclave, Centrifuge.
  • 250 bioagressor strains in a reference collection
  • Reference material


Prestations :

  • Evaluation of Variety Resistance








  • Detection of Pathogens & Pests








  • Evaluation of Treatment Effectiveness


Germination laboratory


Human resources:

  • 22 people divided into 4 teams:
    • Flower, vegetable and woody species,
    • Vegetable, forage grass, and beetroot species
    • Field crop species
    • Substrate preparation workshop

Specialised equipment:

  • 32 growth chambers (with light/temperature/humidity settings), a total of 363m²
  • 447 m² laboratory
  • 667 m² workshop


Seed quality testing is one of GEVES’s primary missions. Tests include various analyses which are carried out at the National Seed Testing Station.

Physical quality is determined by the following analyses:

  • Specific purity
  • Determination of foreign species
  • Moisture content
  • Micro-cleaning
  • Radiography
  • Dust quantification
  • Cytometry
  • Botany



Germination quality is measured by:

  • Evaluation of germination ability
  • Vigour tests
  • Viability tests



Seed health is determined by testing:

  • Seed health state
  • Selectivity and effectiveness of phyto-sanitary treatments

Quality at the SNES


The SNES is ISTA accredited since 2001 (N°FRDL0200). It is thereby authorised to deliver international certificates.






The SNES is COFRAC accredited according to ISO 17025 since 2002 for seed testing (Cofrac section laboratoires N°1-1316 GEVES-Beaucouzé).





1884   The SNES is created

1905   First French law on seed trade

1922   Creation of seed control committee

1924   Creation of International Seed Testing Association

1932   Creation of the first official French Catalogue of species and varieties

1971   Creation of GEVES as a department of INRA

1993   The SNES relocates to Beaucouzé

2009   Relocation of GEVES head office to Beaucouzé with the SNES


Director of the SNES
Head of Customer Service and Sampling
Ms Aurélie CHARRIER Head of the Physical Analysis Laboratory
Ms Valérie GRIMAULT Head of the Pathology Laboratory
Ms Sylvie DUCOURNAU Head of the Germination Laboratory
Operational Supervisor of the Seed Phenotyping Platform
Mr Thibaut DECOURCELLE NRL Coordination & Development Officer
Ms Corinne GUIMIER Head of Quality at the SNES
Customer Service