X-ray analysis can be used to exam the inner structure of a seed for mechanical damage, absence of vital organs such as embryo or endosperm, insect infestation, cracked or broken seed coats, and shrinkage of interior tissues that might signal extreme age.
The major advantage of this technique is that it is a non-destructive method of evaluating seeds.
This figure shows an x-ray analysis of fir (Abies procera) seed. Seeds have been segregated to illustrate empty seeds on the top two rows. The next two rows have normal, filled seeds. The bottom two rows are infested with chalcid fly larvae.