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Sample Preparation and Dispatch to the Secretariat

A PT Leader volunteers to prepare the material for a test round. The ISTA Secretariat informs the PT Leader of the number of participants to determine the number of samples needed. The PT Leader prepares the samples according to the PT Sample Preparation Instruction provided by the ISTA Secretariat. The PT Leader prepares 130–160 sub-samples from each of the three separate bulk samples of seed of the selected species that has purity and germination levels that meet normal international marketing requirements. Ten randomly selected sub-samples are subjected to a heterogeneity test to ensure the lots chosen are suitable for a PT. The sub-samples are sent together with a phytosanitary certificate to the ISTA Secretariat for distribution, test results reporting and tracking, data entry and results distribution plus communication with the participating laboratories. Samples are randomly assigned to the participating laboratories and the allocated random number is used to maintain the anonymity of the laboratory when reporting the results to the Association or the PT Leader.

Sample Dispatch

Samples are dispatched from the ISTA Secretariat at the beginning of April, August, and December every year. Where needed a phytosanitary certificate is enclosed. Laboratories are notified by email upon sample dispatch. Laboratories not having received the samples within three weeks after dispatch date, are required to contact the Secretariat and ask for replacement samples. 
Every sample package is accompanied by an instruction letter and result forms where results are reported. Deadline for reporting of results is 90 calendar days after the PT round package has been dispatched from the ISTA Secretariat. Analysis results from participating laboratories have to be with the Secretariat by that time or they will not be included in the analysis and final report for the round. Laboratories not having reported the results two weeks prior to the deadline will receive a reminder advising that the deadline for reporting of results is close. This is especially important for mandatory participants since they will be scored with a BMP (Below Minimum Performance) if results are not received by the due date. Laboratories having persisting problems with delivery of the sample packages will be required to take immediate action to correct the situation. The Secretariat may provide additional documents such as proforma invoices and/or explanation letters on the purpose of the PT if needed.

Test Execution

Participants are expected to initiate the tests required for a round as soon as possible after the samples have been received, preferably within three weeks of their receipt. If the laboratory receives samples that are not  acceptable (e.g. insufficient sample weight, opened seed packets, leakage of seeds, etc.), the ISTA Secretariat must be informed and asked for replacement samples. Any complaints pertaining to inadequate sample status may not be considered once the ISTA Secretariat has processed the data and reported the results.
The laboratory tests the samples using the ISTA method it usually uses when testing seed for ISTA Certificate purposes. The participants are responsible for the correctness of all results/information reported and no results can be corrected after the round reporting period has been terminated. The seed remaining after the test(s) must be carefully stored for possible required follow up action.

Last update: 31.08.2016



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STI 156 October 2018
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