In order to keep pace with the world’s expanding population, global crop yields are required to double by 2050 and this requirement is made even more challenging by the rising global temperatures and emerging erratic weather patterns caused by climate change. To meet this challenge with minimal environmental impact, it is imperative that the productivity of agricultural land is increased through strategic and technological advances.
Seed-borne pathogens attack developing seedlings, compromising germination and plant establishment and ultimately reducing crop yield. As a result, seeds need to be disinfected and this is typically achieved by washing seeds with or without chemical additives, coating the seeds with fungicide, or soaking germinating seedlings in fungicide drenches. Such approaches have limited applicability as they can affect the germination of the seed and they are not effective in treating all diseases. In addition, due to stricter regulatory controls on the use of chemical agents, seed companies are in need of alternative means of disinfecting seeds without negatively affecting their viability.
PlasSeed explores the use of gas plasma technology as a revolutionary means of disinfecting seeds building on a technology that offers a chemical-free, dry, low-energy alternative to existing seed disinfection techniques.