The researchers are putting various efforts into the seed industry, focusing on protective seed treatments, seed bulking, and enhancement of seed quality for marketing purposes. Seed coating is a common method that applies antimicrobial and fungicidal agents to the surface of the seed to ensure adherence via additives, such as binders.
This method helps to ensure healthy crops, reduce crop losses, and improve the nutritional value of the final crop from the earliest growth stage.
Furthermore, seed coating helps in the physical modification of the seeds to improve handling by reducing friction and improving flowability, which also helps in raising the commercial value of seeds and offers various business opportunities in the seed industry.
This article will focus on the seed coating methods that are used in seed treatment.
What is seed treatment?
Seed treatment is a process in which certain physical, chemical, or biological agents are applied to the seed before sowing. Since seeds are very small in size and can easily get contaminated by fungal or bacterial infections, these agents aim to protect the seeds from pathogens, insects, and other pest attacks.
This seed treatment is used in a variety of crops, including maize, soybean, wheat, canola, rice, sorghum, cotton, Solanaceae, cucurbits, brassicas, leafy vegetables, root and bulb vegetables, and forage crops. Due to this, farmers are widely accepting various seed treatment products and technology for treating seeds to leverage the advantages coupled with them.
Due to the high effectiveness and ease of use of liquid seed treatment solutions, seed treatment products are booming in the market. Moreover, the increasing acceptance of biological seed treatment products and organic farming practices are driving the growth of liquid solution formulation in seed treatment.
According to the report by BIS Research, the seed treatment market was valued at $7.92 billion in 2021, which is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.43% and reach $13.58 billion by 2027.
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With the increasing seed and soil-borne diseases and the growing demand for treated seeds, the global seed treatment market is expected to grow further.
Biodegradable Seed Coating for Seed Treatment
Seed coating products that are microplastic-free and do not affect environmental sustainability are called biodegradable seed coating products, and this method of seed treatment is called seed coating technology.
Recent advancements have been made in seed treatment technologies to replace the availability of polymers and high-adherence coating agents for seeds.
The development of new seed coating formulations generates varying challenges, which include storage-stability issues, lengthy formulation development time, incomplete dispersion as well as dust-off, and seed-clumping.
However, with the increasing environmental concerns, biodegradable and microplastic-free additives have become the focal point for the seed treatment market.
Most of the newly generated seed coating formulations are based on flowable concentrates or emulsions. These products aim to reduce dust-off after coating and increase adhesion on the seed.
Advantages of Biodegradable Seed Coating in Seed Treatment
To eliminate microplastics in seed coating formulations, biodegradable seed coating formulas and products, which are sustainable, innovative, and biobased, have been incorporated into seed treatment.
These products consist of biodegradable, non-soluble, and water-suspended cellulose microfibril bundles that are designed for use in a broad range of aqueous and polar solvent-based formulations.
Biodegradable seed coating products serve several advantages, such as:
• Improved storage stability • Reduced film-cracking• Decreased dust-off• Enhanced film-forming properties• Maintained seed flowability and plant ability with no increase in seed coating tackiness
The biodegradable seed treatment method through seed coating formulation improves compatibility, robustness, and stability, which can be the first step toward improving sustainability and reducing microplastics.
Biodegradable seed coating technology can make a huge improvement to the sustainability and efficiency of the seed coating industry while improving performance and the growing profile of seeds within the agriculture industry with the elimination of micro-plastics.
The growing seed-borne and soil-borne diseases create a lucrative business opportunity for seed treatment manufacturers, which might result in a huge potential for the seed treatment market in the near future.
Simultaneously, farmers have also accepted seed treatment procedures that are biodegradable, leading to a rise in demand for treated seeds. This might boost the seed treatment market during the forecast period.
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