Dust control with cellulose fibrils

Anni Karppinen | March 6, 2018

Dust originating from abrasion of dry materials can cause a danger to the health and environment. One of the industries that is paying a lot of attention to dust control is the seed treatment industry. Seed treatments are an essential part of today’s agriculture and it means applying the crop protections products, like insecticides and fungicides, directly on the seeds before planting. This is regarded as an effective way to apply the crop protection products and can reduce the needed amount of the products in total. However, the applied substances can start wearing off from the seeds when they are transported and handled which can cause unhealthy dust. 

To reduce this, different seed coating polymers can be used to improve the retention of the seed applied crop protection products. Cellulose fibrils could offer a natural alternative to the synthetic polymers in dust control. Let’s have a look at the dust controlling capabilities of cellulose fibrils in seed coatings.

Reduced dusting

Cellulose fibrils can be added to the seed coating formulation such that when the coating is drying, the fibrils bind the pesticides on the seeds. The fibril network is durable and can resist the friction which is created upon the flow of the seeds. On the other hand, this coating softens when it is put into water, allowing the germination of the seeds.

Cellulose fibrils (Exilva from Borregaard) were tested for seed treatment and de-dusting. Results - found in our bulletin - shows amount of dust collected on the filter of the coated seeds in the test. 0.3% cellulose fibrils added to a commercial seed treatment formulation reduced the dusting of the seeds by severe amounts compared to the commercial treatment package without cellulose fibrils. Even this low amount of the fibrils can help to create less dusting coating on the seeds. You can read more on the results in our free bulletin.


Improved flowability and plantability

In addition to the reduced dusting, the transport and application of the seeds must be easy and practical. The quality and surface of the seed treatment affects this since it can cause aggregation of the seeds. In the tests, seeds with cellulose fibrils in the coating flowed without bridging and improved the seed planting.

Adding cellulose fibrils to the commercial seed treatment package resulted in the following:

  • reduced skips where the planting spot is left empty
  • reduced doubles meaning that two seed are planted at the same spot.
  • improved singulation – meaning how equally the seeds drop from the planting disc.


Cellulose fibrils create a film when dried even if the concentration in the formulation is rather low. This can be utilized when durable coatings are needed. One application area, presented above, is seed treatment. In seed treatment, cellulose fibrils can reduce dusting and thus make the handling of the treated seeds safer. In addition, there is a potential in improving the flow of the seeds during transport and planting.

Can you think of other industries or applications where similar dust control would be needed?

Free Application Bulletin

Written by:

Anni Karppinen