Hyderabad: A researcher from the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad (IIT-H) has developed encapsulated electrospun polyurethane (PU) nanofibrous bags to prevent seed storage losses.
Professor Chandra Shekhar Sharma of the chemical engineering department at IIT-H called it a small step towards sustainable agriculture and food safety using nanotechnology.
These nanofabric bags show a great potential toward reducing seed storage losses and may be a game changer for achieving food security as one of the goals for sustainable development, says the study.
For higher crop yields, availability of good quality healthy seeds is a major challenge which is directly related to post-harvesting proper seed storage.
Proper storage is necessary to preserve the active germplasm of crops for a longer period without compromising their viability and germination ability.
Farmers generally use ropes and bamboo baskets, mud and earthen pots, wooden or brick structures, underground pits, gunny bags and polypropylene bags for seed storage. However, they suffer significant seed storage losses.
Various reasons for significant seed storage losses include varying temperature, humidity and presence of rodents, insects and microbial infestation.
“The effect of neem oil loading (3, 5, and 10 per cent w/v) on fiber morphology, wettability, and water vapour permeability is studied. The interaction of neem oil with PU is investigated and correlated with thermal stability and mechanical strength.
The physico-mechanical characteristic then compared with commercial polypropylene storage bags to confirm its applicability. The real time storage experiment carried out for 75 days infers that 90 per cent seeds stored in nanofibrous bags were uninfected, whereas 70 per cent seeds in commercial bags found to be infected with storage fungi,” says the study