Low-temperature gas plasma shows promise as an efficient green technology for enhancing agricultural productivity, food quality and safety.
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.
Gas plasma has been shown to be able to create biologically relevant reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS) that can have a broad range of applications in agriculture. From chemically-free technology for seed disinfection, to seed priming and nitrogen fixation, plasma and plasma-activated water offer exiting alternatives to conventional seed and agricultural processes.
The Plasma and Pulsed Power Group at Loughborough University has years of experience developing low-temperature atmospheric pressure plasma sources and studying their interaction with biological targets. As part of this BBSRC sponsored project, and in partnership with seed/plant biologist at Royal Holloway University of London, and UK and International industrial partners, we aim to design and tune plasma systems for the treatment of seeds with the goal of triggering controlled responses, e.g. seed disinfection, seed dormancy release and immune system responses.
Working with industry allow us not only to access relevant quantity and quality of biological material but also give us access to field test and paves the route for future commercialization of the technology.
Dr Felipe Iza - Reader in Bioelectrics and Healthcare and Deputy Associate Dean (Research)
"By providing effective and environmentally-friendly processes that trigger seed and plant responses, plasma technology has the potential to make very valuable contributions towards addressing the increasing pressure on global agriculture, food security and the environment."