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International Seed Testing Association
International Seed Testing Association
Richtiarkade 18
8304 Wallisellen, CH
+41 44 838 60 00
International Seed Testing Association

Proficiency Test Committee


  • To organise and prepare standard proficiency tests 3 times per year for all ISTA laboratory members.
  • To provide the ISTA Accreditation and Technical Department a means to statistically evaluate that accredited laboratories or laboratories seeking accreditation meet a minimum performance.
  • To give an opportunity to non-accredited laboratories to benchmark themselves with accredited laboratories and prepare themselves for ISTA Accreditation.
  • Standard PT is based on a 3-year planning, taking into consideration the seeds species and diversity according to the ISTA crop groups. PTs are carefully prepared by accredited. PT leader laboratories and distributed worldwide from the ISTA Secretariat.


  • The Proficiency Test Committee contributes strongly to the uniformity and to the proficiency in seed testing worldwide. Standard PT program serves as a monitoring tool for the performance of ISTA accredited laboratories.

Committee members take turns being PT Leaders, under the supervision of the PTC Chair and with the assistance of the PT Coordinator from the ISTA Secretariat. They within their accredited laboratories prepare PT samples, according to a detailed standardized procedure. Samples are distributed to participants from the ISTA Secretariat. Processing and reporting of results are confidentially handled by the PT Coordination. Prior to reporting, the statistical analysis is validated by the PTC Chair.

There is a range of results reported :

  • Heterogeneity results published on the website after the reporting deadline
  • Individual preliminary reports sent to each participant
  • Individual final reports sent to each participant and
  • Summary report with the test overview published at the website after completion of the PT round

The ultimate achievement of the PT Committee activity is the close collaboration with other Technical Committee of ISTA in identifying the training needs for the ISTA community and possible improvements of methods published in the ISTA Rules.


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