Pea (Pisum sativum L.) mutant near-isogenic lines (RRrbrb, rrRbRb, rrrbrb) with lower starch but higher lipid contents, brought about by lesions in the starch biosynthetic pathway, had seed moisture sorption isotherms displaced below that of the wild type (RRRbRb). The negative logarithmic relationship between seed longevity and seed storage moisture content (%, f.wt basis), determined in hermetic storage at 65 degreesC, also differed: longevity in the mutant near-isogenic lines was poorer and less sensitive to moisture content than in the wild type (i.e. C-w was lower). The low-moisture-content limit (m(c)) to this relation also differed, being lower in the mutant near-isogenic lines (5.4-5.9%) than in the wild type (6.1%). In contrast, all four near-isogenic lines showed no difference (P >0.25) in the negative semilogarithmic relationship between equilibrium relative humidity (ERH) and seed longevity. It is concluded that the effect of these alleles at the r and rb loci on seed longevity. was largely indirect; a consequence of their effect on seed composition and hence on moisture sorption isotherms. However, this explanation could not be invoked at moisture contents below mc where differences in longevity remained substantial (RRRbRb double that of rrrbrb). Hence, these mutant alleles affected seed longevity directly at very low moisture contents.