Cryopreservation in liquid nitrogen (LN) is relatively routine for many small, desiccation-tolerant (orthodox) seeds. Seeds of Pyrus species are considered orthodox but have not been evaluated for LN storage. Seeds of freshly collected P. communis L. (`Bosc') were evaluated for germinability and by TZ staining after exposure to four LN treatments: 1) direct immersion and direct removal; 2) direct immersion and 1 minute in LN vapor phase before removal; 3) 2 minutes in vapor phase before immersion and direct removal; and 4) 2 minutes in vapor phase before immersion and 1 minute in vapor phase before removal. Fresh `Bosc' seed viability evaluated by TZ and greenhouse germination tests remained high (83% to 100%) following four types of LN treatments, compared to the controls (77% to 87%). Differences in `Bosc' seed viability were small and TZ results showed no significant differences among the LN treatments. Direct LN immersion and removal resulted in significantly more greenhouse-germinated `Bosc' seeds than the other treatments and fewer control seeds germinated than any LN treated seeds. Fresh `Bosc' seed cryopreserved at 7.9% moisture exhibited high germinability by both TZ and germination tests. LN exposure caused no physical damage to the seeds. Chemical name used: 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TZ).
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