Seeds of Salix bebbiana Sarg., S. discolor Muhl., and S. eriocephala Michx. (Salicaceae) were stored at 2 moisture contents (low, 5.1 to 7.3% and high, 8.5 to 9.8%) and 4 temperatures (4, –20, –80, and –145 °C [39, –4, –112, –229 °F]) for 60 mo. Seeds stored at 4 °C lost most or all viability by 24 mo. We observed no significant difference in germination between the 2 seed moisture contents for each species. After 60 mo of subzero storage, germination of S. bebbiana seeds declined from 89 to 83%, S. discolor from 60 to 54%, and S. eriocephala from 71 to 54%.
The range of technologies China is—and was—interested in varies considerably.
Why seeds? The relative lack of arable land in China puts crop yield at a minimum, making advanced seeds exceedingly valuable. Chinese agricultural firms, at least at the time of the writing of the book, were well behind the big American and European giants in the development of advanced seed lines, and also in global market share. Robert Mo and other operatives stole experimental seeds from Monsanto and Pioneer test fields in Iowa, sending them back to China through innovative means such as packing them in popcorn bags and smuggling them in luggage. Hvistendahl discusses the long and winding road of how the FBI put together a case against Mo, nearly bringing him to trial before forcing a plea deal. The narrative involves deep discussion of how Big Ag creates and tests new seed lines, how that process interacts with traditional modes of growing corn in places like Iowa, and how the FBI has grown increasingly interested in international economic espionage.
Not all Chinese intellectual property theft involves military technology. In the Scientist and the Spy, Mara Hvistendahl details the long case of Robert Mo, a Chinese scientist who was convicted of stealing IP-rich seeds from several cornfields in Iowa, and trying to send those seeds back to China.