Jan. 21, 2019
By Leonardo Gottems, reporter for AgroPages
An innovative alternative to the traditional treatment of seeds through chemical agents during pre-planting is emerging. It is the treatment of seeds through electrons, which promises to be a modern, ecological process and completely free of chemical residues, without any loss of biological effectiveness or seed yield. The novelty will be presented at the Agrishow, which will take place in the city of Ribeirão Preto (São Paulo state) from April 29 to May 3.
According to the representative of the Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology, André Weidauer, the treatment of seeds through electrons is based on the biocidal effect of low energy electrons. He pointed out that not only are the pathogens transmitted by seeds exterminated, but there is also perennial protection, as there is the "interruption of the chain of infection by the death of harmful microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses".
"Accelerated electrons are produced according to the Braun tube principle. When high voltages are applied between the cathode and the anode, electrons are emitted from the cathode and accelerated by the charge difference toward the electron outlet window. This separates the vacuum at which electrons are generated from the process space at which ambient pressure prevails," he explained.
Weidauer pointed out that by adjusting the intensity of the current and the energy of the electrons, it is possible to ensure protection against practically all the pathogens that are located inside and on the bark of a very extensive variety of seeds. The process can be used in cereals, vegetables, spices, grass and flowers, among others, and is approved for use in organic agriculture.
The expert argued that the adoption of seed treatment through electrons brings several benefits and advantages. According to him, with this method, the "complete abandonment of the use of chemical agents" is possible, as well as the prevention of the development of resistance. He also emphasized that no powder, steam or pickling solutions are released, being a very economical alternative and with a better shelf life when compared to other forms of treatment.