Storage bags that reduce post-harvest seed losses

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad (IITH) have developed a neem oil encapsulated electrospun polyurethane nanofibrous bags for seed storage. The real time storage experiment carried out for 75 days showed that 90 % seeds stored in these bags were uninfected while 70 % seeds in commercial bags were found to be infected with storage fungi.

The research, partially funded by DST-INSPIRE faculty grant, was led by Chandra Shekhar Sharma, Associate Professor in Department of Chemical Engineering at the IIT Hyderabad. This is a first ever attempt to fabricate nanofibrous bags with the aim to reduce the post-harvest seed storage losses.

The researchers encapsulated neem oil (NO) into the polyurethane (PU) nanofibers and carried out real time testing of the PUNO bags by storing three different kinds of seeds for total 75 days at normal room temperature conditions. The stored seeds were then tested for any microbial invasion.

The research was published in the international peer-reviewed scientific journal The Journal of Applied Polymer Science. The research paper was co-authored with his PhD student Mrunalini K. Gaydhane, and Sampada P. Pudkea from Creative & Advanced Research Based on Nanomaterials (CARBON) Laboratory of the Department of Chemical Engineering.

“The fabricated PUNO-10% mat possesses excellent load capacity, and maximum tensile strain values superior than the commercial polypropylene patterned sample. The real time applicability of PUNO-10% pouches infers that any type of seeds can be stored for longer duration at normal room temperature conditions. The stored seeds in nanofibrous pouches for 75 days have successfully inhibited the growth of storage borne fungi. Large scale production of nanofibers however, is still a challenge in which there is promising development in recent years and that gives a hope for commercialization of such storage bags in near future,” said Mr. Sharma.

Post-harvesting, proper storage of seeds is necessary to preserve the active germplasm of crops for longer period without compromising their viability and germination ability. There are numerous factors needed to be considered while storing the seeds either as a food source or as seeds for next season, the lead researcher explained.

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Printable version | Nov 24, 2020 9:17:04 PM |

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