Guardian angels for seeds

November 10, 2010

The seeds that you plant in your backyard garden next spring -- and farmers sow in their fields -- may have a guardian angel that helps them sprout, stay healthy, and grow to yield bountiful harvests. It's a thin coating of chemicals termed a "seed treatment" that can encourage seeds to germinate earlier in the season, resist insects and diseases, and convey other advantages. These new seed defenders are the topic of an article in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS' weekly newsmagazine.

C&EN Senior Business Editor Melody Voith describes a boom in developing and producing chemical coatings that act as built-in pesticides to protect from destructive , fungi, and other pests. Seed treatments for protecting cereal, corn, and beet crops already are common in agriculture and are growing in popularity in an effort to safeguard genetically modified seeds, which are expensive. The worldwide seed treatment market now generates $1.5 billion yearly and is growing at 10 to 12 percent annually, according to the article.

Voith notes that scientists are also developing a new generation of seed treatments that use microorganisms to protect plants from pests and promote earlier, more vigorous growth. One company, for instance, produces a bacterial coating that kills disease-causing fungi while secreting a substance that promotes plant growth. Unlike chemical treatments, which last for weeks, these biologic seed defenders last for months.

Explore further: Earlier crop plantings may curb future yields

More information: "Seed Defenders" This story is available at

Related Stories

Can Nanotubes Help Your Garden Grow?

October 6, 2009

( -- When we think of nanotubes, we often think of solar panels and physical science. However, it appears that nanotubes can also provide valuable help to plants as a fertilizer. Just add carbon nanotubes, say ...

Seeds of aflatoxin-resistant corn lines available

May 20, 2010

Six new corn inbred lines with resistance to aflatoxin contamination have been found to be free of seed-borne diseases foreign to the United States, and seeds of these lines are now available in the United States for further ...

Recommended for you

Study suggests fish can experience 'emotional fever'

November 25, 2015

(—A small team of researchers from the U.K. and Spain has found via lab study that at least one type of fish is capable of experiencing 'emotional fever,' which suggests it may qualify as a sentient being. In their ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.