I've been able to germinate about 90-95% of old seeds (about 15 year old bean seeds) using Plasma Activated water. But I can't get even one lettuce seed to germinate (same age 15 year old packet).

I've tried adding honey to the water, adding small amounts of crushed aloe (the clear flesh washed without it's yellow poison), leaving seeds in the water, leaving seeds in just a damp paper towel and placing seeds in a damp cotton ball. Any one else have any other ideas how to germinate old lettuce seeds or a protocol to use. I normally wait about a week and half to see if germination starts.

  • 1
    Just a theory: Could the seeds be actually dead?
    – Stephie
    Commented Mar 2, 2020 at 11:54
  • @Stephie How does one tell if a seed is dead before trying to germinate it? They were all in sealed packets within a sealed can
    – Rick T
    Commented Mar 2, 2020 at 12:47
  • You can't tell unless you try growing them. You may have kept your seeds sealed in the pack inside a sealed can, but that doesn't mean they will be viable after 15 years.Seed banks store seeds in controlled environment conditions, in particular, keeping the temperature low, to encourage dormancy so that they will still be viable after a long time. I'd say your lettuce seeds are no longer viable.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Mar 2, 2020 at 13:24

1 Answer 1


As far as I am aware, plasma activated water is simply water which has extra oxygen available for a short period. It is well known that while oxygen is essential for most types of life, in high doses it can actually be poisonous, and for this reason it can be used as a cleaner and sanitizer. Peroxide is actually produced by plants in their germination phase (Barba-Espin, G. et al., 2010. Interaction between hydrogen peroxide and plant hormones during germination and the early growth of pea seedlings. Plant Cell Environ., 33: 981-994.)

It's not really unusual for a bean to germinate after a long time, although your high reported percentage is certainly remarkable. We might imagine that immersing the bean seeds in high oxygen environment has a cleaning effect, and bean seeds have a lot of "meat" in them which lettuce does not. At normal temperatures, even in a sealed container chemical processes continue and viability declines, although Vilmorin-Andrieux "The Vegetable Garden" claims that the viability of beans and lettuce seeds are similar.

If your experiment was to be repeated scientifically there would need to be a control group of seeds not exposed to the plasma water, and perhaps another treated with peroxide the same way some fruit growers treat fungi with peroxide instead of pesticides. Comparison of the three groups would show whether plasma treated seed was an improvement over other methods.

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