Microplastic Free and Biodegradable Seed-Coating
Harrison Gallantree-Smith | November 30, 2021
Seed coatings are a common method of seed treatment which applies the antimicrobial and/or fungicidal agents to the surface of a seed via additives, such as binders, to ensure adherence. The seed coatings ensure healthier crops from their earliest growth stage, reduce crop losses, and improve nutritional value of the final crop. Furthermore, seed coatings can physically modify the seed to improve handling by reducing friction and improving flowability.
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Developing new seed coating formulations generates varying challenges. These range from incomplete dispersion, storage-stability issues, lengthy formulation development time as well as dust-off and seed-clumping. Some of these issues are already being solved by addition of petro-based additives, but today solutions need to be focused towards biodegradable and micro-plastic free additives.
Most types of seed coating formulations are based on flowable concentrates or emulsions. These aim to increase adhesion on the seed and reduce dust-off after coating. Many different types of seed coating formulations exist, and the ones chosen for implementation depend on the cost of the additives, the active ingredients to be coated onto the seed and today they must also be biodegradable and micro-plastic free.
One option to eliminate micro-plastics in seed coating formulations is by incorporating Exilva®, a biodegradable cellulose fibril from Borregaard. Exilva is a sustainable, innovative, and bio-based material. Exilva consists of water suspended, biodegradable and non-soluble cellulose microfibril bundles designed for use in a broad range of aqueous and polar solvent based formulations and applications.
Exilva, once incorporated into a seed-coating formulation, can be the first-step towards improving the sustainability and reducing the microplastics by improving compatibility, robustness, and stability. Exilva can improve the seed coating formulations by:
- Improved storage stability
- Enhanced film-forming properties
- Reduced film-cracking
- Decreased dust-off
- Maintained seed flowability and plantability with no increase in seed coating tackiness
Seed-coating with Exilva on soybeans
Seed-coating with Exilva on corn
Along with early and safe germination, these are just a few of the areas where Exilva® could make an improvement to the sustainability and efficiency in the seed coating industry. These areas are key to forming a reliable, effective, and biodegradable seed coating which can improve performance and the growing-profile of seeds within the agriculture industry with elimination of micro-plastics.
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If you want to learn more about this topic, have some questions and would like to try Exilva in your formulation, you can order your free sample here, or;
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Harrison Gallantree-Smith has been working as a researcher with Exilva, specifically with coatings, construction and agchem applications since 2017. He has established an extensive knowledge of each of these application areas and how Exilva can benefit them. Harrison has also worked closely with customers on industrial partner projects and with research institutes to give guidance and advice with Exilva. Harrison has a Masters in Chemistry from UCL (University College London) and a PhD in Organic Synthesis from NMBU (Norwegian University of Life Sciences).