Tozer Seeds and collaborators have won funding from the UK Government’s Farming Innovation Pathways competition to research into alternative (to traditional chemical-based) seed treatments to control seed and crop diseases as well as improve germination and crop establishment characteristics.
Field of celery plants
The Farming Innovation Pathways funding is a partnership between UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)‘s Transforming Food Production (TFP) challenge and DEFRA’s Farming Innovation Programme. The funding has been made available to enable UK businesses and research organizations to collaborate on industrial research to address the farming challenges of productivity, sustainability, and net-zero emissions.
Dr. Frances Gawthrop, project lead
Dr. Matthew Walker, project manager
The withdrawal of many approved pesticides has led to the search for alternative plant protection products which are effective but leave no residue within the wider environment. The project employs a novel approach to seed treatment combining two strategies: a physical laser treatment, and the use of a novel natural bioactive compound.
These two strategies will be used to disinfect vegetable seeds of seed-borne pathogens. And also to improve germination, seedling establishment, growth rate, and yield potential. The project is focusing on three core crops, celery, parsnip, and coriander, but we expect the approach to be applicable to various other vegetable seeds.
Work on the project has just begun and has funding for 18 months work.