Technical Guidance and Support
Providing technical guidance to laboratories is a core function of our role as a National Reference Laboratory for seeds. The SNES offers an array of technical support services, including: training laboratory personnel, organising technical workshops, disseminating methods, assisting laboratories in resolving technical issues, carrying out audits, organising ILCs, conducting official seed testing, and issuing international seed analysis certificates.
Seed Analyst Training
As a NRL for seeds, the SNES provides training for seed analyst personnel from approved laboratories. We offer two training courses via SEMAE Formation: “Preparation for the Seed analyst basics certification” and “Preparation for the Senior seed analyst certification”. These training courses take place at the SNES in Angers, France. At the end of the course, participants have the option of taking the certification exams for Seed analyst basics or Senior seed analyst.
In addition to these standard training programmes, the SNES organises training courses for analysts to acquire practical skills in carrying out seed tests autonomously. These training courses are organised by test and species, in response to requests received.
Interlaboratory Comparison (ILC) tests
As a NRL for seeds, GEVES organises Proficiency testing ILCs within the framework of laboratory approval schemes. The ILC programme is prepared by the SOC. All approved laboratories must participate in proficiency tests relating to species within their scope.
Other proficiency tests are organised by the SNES directly. Participation in these ILCs is on an entirely voluntary basis, and the results are not communicated to the SOC.
Please contact us for information on organising ILCs or mini-comparisons.
When applying for laboratory approval, an audit result is taken into consideration. This audit is carried out either as part of the ISTA 17025 accreditation or by the NRL. The SNES carries out initial, renewal and extension audits in accordance with the “Conditions and requirements for approved laboratories”, as requested by the competent authorities.
We also conduct advice audits upon request.
Lab Open Days
Providing technical guidance to laboratories is an important part of the SNES’s NRL role in information exchange and communication.
Since 2004, the SNES has been running its Lab Open Days (Les journées des laboratories). These annual technical days are an occasion for laboratories to get the latest information on method developments and in particular evolutions in ISTA rules. Technical days include a workshop and presentations on seed quality laboratory issues. They are also a moment of exchange and discussion between participating company laboratories. Lab Open Days are organised every year on a Thursday and Friday around the 21 September.
Reference Tools, Documents and Material
The SNES creates and provides technical documents, seed collections, and seed testing control kits to support company laboratories in their seed quality testing activities:
- Reference tools
The SNES Physical Analysis Laboratory has developed I.D. SEED®, a reference tool for seed testing laboratories. This online tool provides access to a seed database of over 400 seeds. Each species data sheet contains a photo and a complete description of the seed.
- Reference documents
The SNES can provide technical documents, data sheets, and method guidelines to support you in your testing activities.
Our Germination and Physical Analysis laboratories provide documents illustrating methods for seed quality testing. This includes photos to guide you in identifying seeds from other plants, or analysing normal and abnormal seedlings.
- Seed collections
Seed collections contain seeds from other plants that are frequently found during testing. Each species is presented with a photo, a description and a seed sample. It is highly recommended for analysts to own a reference collection of seeds in case of difficulty identifying seed during analysis.
Seed collections are prepared by the Physical Analysis laboratory. These collections can be used in parallel with ID SEED for purity and count testing.
- Seed control kits
On top of regulatory seed analyst training (Seed analyst basics and Senior seed analyst), the competence of seed analysts is above all the responsibility of the Lead Analyst (the head of the laboratory). To assist lead analysts in training their teams and ensuring ongoing competency, the Physical Analysis laboratory can provide seed samples which have been “contaminated” with seeds from other plants.
The SNES is actively involved in the development of new methodologies and equipment. Our technical news section offers illustrated information and videos of methods used in seed quality analysis.
In its capacity as NRL, the SNES performs double testing for approved laboratories. Inspectors from the SOC ensure the samples are taken from the sample doubles stored by the laboratories. These samples are processed by the SNES, which returns the test results to the SOC. The SOC then issues laboratory control cards by test and by species. Control cards are a statistical system for comparing data from sample pairs between an approved laboratory and the reference laboratory. The aim is to assess the accuracy of the laboratories. The SOC looks particularly at the overestimation of results which could call into question a laboratory’s certification.