Molecular mobility is hypothesised to be a key factor influencing storage stability of seeds because it may control the rate of deteriorative reactions responsible for reduced shelf life. The relationship between the longevity of lettuce seeds and the molecular mobility was investigated in the cytoplasm of lettuce radicles. Longevity of lettuce seeds was predicted using the viability equation of Ellis and Roberts, and the molecular mobility was determined by saturation transfer electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy measurements of rotational motion of a polar spin probe inserted into the cytoplasm. Increasing the temperature resulted in faster rotational motion and shorter longevity. There was a linear relationship between the logarithms of rotational motion and estimated seed longevity for temperatures above 5°C. Below 5°C, there was a deviation from linearity. Based on the hypothesis that the molecular mobility in the cytoplasm determines the rate of detrimental reactions, seed longevity at sub-zero temperatures was predicted by extrapolation of the rotational motion using the linear relationship. Predictions of longevity at sub-zero temperatures based on rotational motion indicated longer survival times than those based on the viability equation. A kinetic approach to ageing using molecular mobility measurements is expected to improve our understanding of seed storage stability and might eventually lead to realistic predictions of longevity at low temperatures.