Seed Testing & Certification

The sale of most agricultural and horticultural seeds is controlled through a series of seeds regulations dealing with cereals, fodder crops, oil and fibre crops, beet seeds, and vegetables respectively. These regulations are part of an EU-wide framework which ensures that seeds meet the same quality standards wherever they are sold in the European Union.

Seed & Ware Potatoes

The Seed Potato Classification Scheme (SPCS) ensures the continuing high quality of Scottish Seed Potatoes, by setting strict tolerances for freedom from disease and trueness to type. SASA is the Certifying Authority for the SPCS and also carries out a range of scientific activities in support of seed potato classification in Scotland. 

Information on the SPCS, including application forms for tuber inspection and soil testing for PCN, can be found in the Classification Scheme section.

Training Courses

SASA holds a number of high quality training events, for students from all over the world.

GM Services

GM Team

The Scottish Government opposes the cultivation of Genetically Modified (GM) crops which could damage Scotland's rich environment and  threaten our reputation for producing high quality and natural foods.  The Scottish Government believes GM cultivation would diminish Scotland's image as a land of food and drink.

Taking account of this policy, SASA provides advice on the release of GM crop plants and other organisms (GMOs) into the environment and on the contained use of GMOs.  In addition the GM team provides GM diagnostic testing services.  

Antibody Unit

The Antibody Unit was established in 1986 to enable SASA to meet its responsibilities for the health of Scottish seed potatoes and for the quarantine testing of imported potato material. The primary focus of this work has been the development of ELISA assays incorporating monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) for the detection of many indigenous and non-indigenous potato viruses.

Cereals National Listing


The National List system was adopted in 1973 following the UK entry into the European Community. It applies to the main agricultural and vegetable species and ensures that no seed of a prescribed species may be marketed in the UK unless the variety is on a UK list or the EU Common Catalogue. 

The National List system, together with seed certification and labelling:

Xylella fastidiosa

Xylella fastidiosa is a bacterial disease not known to occur in the UK. The bacteria colonise the xylem vessels of plants, eventually blocking these, which deprives the plant or tree of water and nutrients. The symptoms vary depending on the host plant species and its degree of susceptibility but can include marginal leaf scorch, wilting of foliage and withering of branches. Severe infections can result in dieback, stunting and death of the plant.

Survey of Scottish Winter Oilseed Rape Cultivation 2014/15

Impact of neonicotinoid seed treatment restrictions

File size: 


Subscribe to RSS - Researchers