ISU-SSC to Host Presentation by Cornell University Seed Technology Expert

Dr. Alan TaylorThe Iowa State University Seed Science Center will host a presentation by Dr. Alan Taylor, Professor of Seed Science and Technology, at the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, AgriTech, on Monday, April 29, 10 a.m. 

Taylor’s research program can best be described as "modern seed technology," focused on post-harvest aspects of seeds with emphasis on coating technologies, and seed treatments. His seed treatment research includes chemical and biological methods to protect seeds and seedlings from insects and diseases.

“Dr. Taylor is a leading researcher in modern seed treatments and seed coating technologies,” said seed physiologist, Dr. Susana Goggi, ISU Professor of Agronomy. “His research has contributed to our understanding of seed treatment’s protection mechanisms and their interactions with soil, pathogens, seed and seedling.”

The presentation, “Advancements on Seed Treatments and Coatings,” will take place in conference room 106, Seed Science, and is free and open to faculty, staff, students and local seed professionals.  Below is a synopsis of topics which will be covered:

    Seed coating technologies were developed to provide a delivery system for active ingredients to be applied in close proximity to the seed and at a specified dosage. Seed coating methods include slurry, film coating, encrusting (mini-pellet) and pelleting. Seed coating components include a binder or adhesive and solid particulate filler material. Active ingredients may be added during the coating process to either the binder or filler.

    Case studies are presented with seed treatments for 1) plant protection, 2) biostimulant capabilities and 3) amelioration of environmental (drought) stress. Research at Cornell in collaboration with the IR-4 program investigated seed treatment insecticides for management of onion maggot, and to provide an alternative chemistry to neonicotinoids. An OMRI approved formulation of spinosad was efficacious and resulted in a 90% reduction in pesticide application compared to an in-furrow drench.

    A seed coating biostimulant was developed using a blend of finely ground soy flour and vermicompost. Seedling and plant growth were enhanced from sowing biostimulant coated broccoli seed. Hydrophilic polymers were applied during seed coating to rapidly absorb water after planting to avoid drought stress on germination and seedling establishment of cover crop seeds.

    In addition to applied research on seed treatment, more fundamental research was conducted to understand uptake of systemic compounds in seeds. Starting assumptions of systemic seed treatment uptake were largely based on research focused on roots; however, experiments in our lab revealed that the uptake of specific compounds in seeds is more complicated than roots and differs between seed species.

     Uptake characteristics were grouped into three categories based on the compounds that could diffuse through the seed covering layers to the embryo: 1) permeable, e.g. soybean, 2) selectively permeable, e.g. corn and 3) non-permeable, e.g. cucumber seeds.

    The distinction between permeable and selectively permeable was based on the fact that both ionic and nonionic compounds diffused through the seed coat of permeable seed species, while only nonionic compounds diffused through the seed coat of selectively permeable species. This knowledge is essential for the development of seed treatments to eradicate internal seed-borne pathogens.