Crop ProtectionSeed Industry

Improved Seed Treatment for More Sustainable Vegetable Production

14 June 2024, US: In agriculture, sustainability starts from the ground, including soil and anything that touches it, such as seeds. At Syngenta Vegetable Seeds, researchers are finding innovative ways to protect soil while still providing growers with early-season protection by implementing new seed treatment recipes that use no microplastic polymers and are therefore biodegradable.

The decision to move to a biodegradable seed polymer is not something that happened overnight. It took years of development and dedication by Syngenta researchers to find the right ingredients that maintained the quality characteristics growers around the world need.

Biodegradable Seed Coatings Available in 2024

“We started with our seed processing in Europe, in the Enkhuizen facility in The Netherlands,” said Remco Kwakman, Global Portfolio Lead, Vegetables Seed Technology. “With this move, by the end of this year all of the small, seeded vegetables seeds (such as peppers, tomatoes, and other small seeds used in vegetable production) we process in Europe will be completely free of microplastics, which means they’re 100% biodegradable for a lowered footprint.”

Today this seed is distributed through Europe and quickly spreading beyond those borders.

“This means a minimal impact on the environment from our seed coatings,” Kwakman explained. “There are no concessions in the quality of the coated seeds or the crop protection products we can include.”

The only difference? The seed treatment that uses biodegradable resources is marginally less shiny than its predecessor. This has impact on the flowability of the seed or any other performance metric that matters to growers such as dust or firmness. The products adhere to the high-quality standards that Syngenta provides to growers.

The Biodegradability Journey Continues

The journey toward biodegradable seed coatings will continue into large seed (sweet corn, beans, and pea) and spinach seed processing in 2025. The new process will be starting in Europe, but also extending to seed processing facilities around the world – even before required by regulatory bodies.

Because the ingredients and technology are globally available, processing centers will be able to create uniform products that are available around the world.

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