Cooperation for environment-friendly seed treatment in India
In this German-Indian cooperation, Fraunhofer FEP and the University of Bangalore are aiming to adapt the chemicals-free German treatment technology for seeds to Indian conditions.
India has 17 percent of the world‘s population but only 3 percent of the world‘s land area, so it relies on efficient farming to feed its population. Seeds play a key role here. Since it has the fifth-largest seed market, the Indian government is trying to improve the quality of seeds and reduce the use of chemicals.
The Fraunhofer Institute for Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP in Dresden developed an environment-friendly method to free seeds of pathogens such as fungi, bacteria or viruses a number of years ago. This method prevents the spread of plant diseases without the otherwise common use of chemicals. The Dresden researchers treat the seeds in the seed coat with electrons and can render the pathogens on the grains harmless through energy input. This energy does not reach the seedling on the inside so that the seed can still germinate.
Following a visit to the Fraunhofer FEP in Dresden by a delegation of researchers from Indian universities and industrial companies this year in January, the University of Agricultural Sciences Bangalore is the first partner who wishes to expand its cooperation with the Fraunhofer FEP in this field. In order to acquaint a large section of the Indian seed industry with this kind of seed treatment, they invited Frank-Holm Rögner, head of the electron beam processes department at the Fraunhofer FEP, to Bangalore between June 8 and 11. An audience of almost 500 people listened with great interest to his presentation »Electron treatment – enhancing safety in food production« at the 8th National Seed Seminar of the Indian Society of Seed Technology.
The partners are currently working on a memorandum of understanding and plans for joint research work to review the efficiency of this electron beam treatment for various types of seeds and soil conditions in India and to adapt the technology to the specific climatic and economic circumstances in India are in place.