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Low-temperature plasma treatment of seeds

This workgroup aims to advance the current understanding of the physical and biochemical changes induced by plasma treatments of seeds and develop guidelines and protocols adopted by the rapidly growing community of researchers and industrialists working in the field.

Tasks

T2.1. Plasma treatment of seed for improved germination uniformity, rate and yield. This task focuses on the physical and biochemical changes induced by plasma treatments and their effect on seed germination. Studies will explore biomechanical and surface changes, such as endospore weakening, surface roughness and wettability, as well as physiological and biomolecular changes induced in treated seeds. This information will be used to guide the optimization of plasma sources and their operational regime for the safe and effective treatment of seeds.

T2.2. Early growth characteristics and induced resistance of plants grown from plasma treated seeds. This task focuses on studying the vigor of plants grown from plasma treated seeds. Studies will consider early plant characteristics such as the number of leaves, root branching, biomass production and photosynthesis capacity as well as pathogen resistance and tolerance to abiotic stresses such as drought, salinity and low/high temperatures. Plasma conditions will be compared to those identified in T2.1.

T2.3. Decontamination of seeds investigates the removal of seed-borne pathogens (fungi, spores, bacteria and viruses) by plasma treatments that avoid deleterious effects on the seeds. Treatment conditions will be compared to those inducing improved germination and vigorous plants (T2.1 and T2.2).

T2.4. Construction, diagnostics, modelling and scaling of plasma systems for treatment of seeds. Tasks 2.1-2.3 rely on the development of devices, models and diagnostics that will deliver small scale laboratory prototypes that enable scientific advances and easy transportation to collaborating academic/industrial partners. As treatment conditions are identified in T2.1-2.3, scaling up/down of plasma reactors to meet industrial needs, safety and regulatory aspects and life cycle assessment (LCA) of the technology will be considered as part of this task.

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