[gardeners] Fwd: [GWL]: Irradiation of Seeds and Plants

Margaret Lauterbach (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Tue, 30 Oct 2001 13:59:08 -0700

 From another list:

>I have been doing some follow up on the potential risk of damage to
>seeds and plants caused by the proposed irradiation of mail.
>First, I think it is important to clear up a point of confusion.  There
>are several types of radiation that can be used to sterilize items such
>as medical equipment and food.  The most common are gamma radiation,
>from a cobalt 60 source, and electron beam radiation, generated by an
>accelerator. It is the latter that is contemplated (or already
>installed!) at the USPS.
>This afternoon I spoke to a technician at Titan Scan Technologies
>(www.titanscan.com), one of the leading suppliers of electron beam
>equipment.  He said that because anthrax spores are particularly
>resistant to sterilization, the dose needed is among the highest used in
>industrial and medical sterilization -- 42 kilograys.  At this dose, he
>said, there is no question that seeds (and hence plants) will be killed.
>A lower dose (probably 1 kilogray) is typically used for sterilizing
>produce from South America, but he couldn't say whether that dose would
>or would not affect seeds. However, this lower dose could not be used
>for anthrax.  And even if it could, he guessed that some damage to seeds
>would still occur at the lower dose.
>After my conversation with the fellow from Titan Scan, I checked the FDA
>standards for foods to help me understand how the anthrax dose compares
>with food irradiation.  Here are the approved standards for various
>The limits are between 30 kilograys (to destroy microorganisms and
>insects in dried spices) down to 1 kilogray (to delay ripening in
>For plants and seeds in the mail, it ain't looking good...
>Conrad Richter
>RICHTERS HERBS                     | Info: info@richters.com            *
>Goodwood, ON  L0C 1A0, Canada      | Catalogs: catalog@richters.com     *
>Tel +1-905-640-6677  Fax 640-6641  | Website: http://www.richters.com   *
>What would you do with $1 Million?
>Do not miss out on your chance to be a millionaire!
>Register at LuckySurf and WIN your $1 Million NOW!
>Pass the word to garden writers, editors publishers, horticultural 
>businesses about our list.
>EASY UNSUBSCRIBE click here: http://topica.com/u/?bUrGSS.bVygW3
>Or send an email To: Gardenwriters-unsubscribe@topica.com
>This email was sent to: melauter@earthlink.net
>T O P I C A -- Register now to manage your mail!