Special Issue "Modern Seed Technology"

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472). This special issue belongs to the section "Crop Production".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 February 2021).

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A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Alan G. Taylor
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Cornell AgriTech, School of Integrative Plant Science, Horticulture Section, Cornell University, SIPS, Geneva, New York, NY 14456, USA
Interests: seed treatments; coatings; enhancements; biostimulants; seed quality

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Satisfying the increasing number of consumer demands for high quality seed with enhanced performance is one of the most imperative challenges of modern agriculture. In this view, it is essential to remember that the seed quality of crops does not improve after harvest. Therefore, a deeper understanding is of crucial importance on how to manipulate the post-harvest factors with the aim to maintain and/or maximize the seed quality prior to sowing. Post-harvest seed enhancements can improve germination and vigor, protect seed and seedlings from biotic and abiotic stress, and improve seed singulation and precision seeding.

This Special Issue focuses on the development and assessment of post-harvest methods in determining the seed quality of crops, and enhancing seed and seedling performance resulting in high and stable quality. This issue on Modern Seed Technology will include interdisciplinary studies embracing agriculture with disciplines of biology, chemistry and engineering. Research articles will cover a broad range of seeds from specialty crops, including vegetable crops, ornamental and hemp as well as field crop, and seeds from other managed ecosystems. All types of articles, such as original research, opinions, and reviews are welcome.

Prof. Dr. Alan G. Taylor
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • seed treatments
  • film coating
  • pelleting
  • enhancements
  • biostimulants
  • seed quality
  • storage
  • stand establishment
  • seedling vigor

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Modern Seed Technology
Agriculture 2021, 11(7), 630; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11070630 - 06 Jul 2021
Viewed by 564
Abstract
Modern Seed Technology (MST) includes a wide range of technologies and practices to upgrade seed quality, enhance seedling and plant growth, and assessing seed quality using imaging technology [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Seed Technology)

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

Article
Zinc Seed Priming Improves Spinach Germination at Low Temperature
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 271; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030271 - 22 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1039
Abstract
Low temperature during germination hinders germination speed and early seedling development. Zn seed priming is a useful and cost-effective tool to improve germination rate and resistance to low temperature stress during germination and early seedling development. Spinach was tested to improve germination and [...] Read more.
Low temperature during germination hinders germination speed and early seedling development. Zn seed priming is a useful and cost-effective tool to improve germination rate and resistance to low temperature stress during germination and early seedling development. Spinach was tested to improve germination and seedling development with Zn seed priming under low temperature stress conditions. Zn priming increased seed Zn concentration up to 48 times. The multispectral imaging technique with VideometerLab was used as a non-destructive method to differentiate unprimed, water- and Zn-primed spinach seeds successfully. Localization of Zn in the seeds was studied using the 1,5-diphenyl thiocarbazone (DTZ) dying technique. Active translocation of primed Zn in the roots of young seedlings was detected with laser confocal microscopy. Zn priming of spinach seeds at 6 mM Zn showed a significant increase in germination rate and total germination under low temperature at 8 °C. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Seed Technology)
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Article
Relationships of Brassica Seed Physical Characteristics with Germination Performance and Plant Blindness
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 220; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030220 - 08 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 866
Abstract
Brassica oleracea is an important crop species that at early growth stages may exhibit failure of the apical growing point, an abnormality called “blindness”. The occurrence of blindness is promoted by exposure to low temperatures during imbibition and germination, but the causes of [...] Read more.
Brassica oleracea is an important crop species that at early growth stages may exhibit failure of the apical growing point, an abnormality called “blindness”. The occurrence of blindness is promoted by exposure to low temperatures during imbibition and germination, but the causes of sensitivity to such conditions are unknown. We combined three analytical seed technology instruments to explore seed physical properties that are highly correlated with quality parameters and might be used directly for grading or sorting seed lots into subpopulations varying in potential susceptibility to blindness. For image analysis, we used the VideometerLab instrument, which can scan 19 wavelengths from ultraviolet to infrared and utilize that information in any combination to potentially identify unique criteria related to seed quality. The iXeed CF Analyzer was utilized to obtain chlorophyll fluorescence values for individual seeds. Chlorophyll contents of many seeds can be used as an indicator of seed maturity, a major contributor to seed quality. Finally, oxygen consumption measurements of individual seeds as obtained with the Q2 instrument are highly correlated with their performance under a wide variety of conditions. Six Brassica seed lots differed in their susceptibility to induction of blindness or loss of viability due to 48 h hydrated incubation at 1.5 C. Analysis of physical and respiratory parameters identified some measurements that were highly correlated with the occurrence of blindness. Higher chlorophyll content, as detected by the CF-Mobile and certain wavelengths in the Videometer, was associated with greater occurrence of blindness or death following the induction treatment, suggesting that more immature seeds may be susceptible to blindness. Further research is required, but methods to detect and sort such seeds based on physical characteristics appear to be feasible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Seed Technology)
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Article
Tomato Seed Coat Permeability: Optimal Seed Treatment Chemical Properties for Targeting the Embryo with Implications for Internal Seed-Borne Pathogen Control
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 199; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030199 - 28 Feb 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1016
Abstract
Seed treatments are frequently applied for the management of early-season pests, including seed-borne pathogens. However, to be effective against internal pathogens, the active ingredient must be able to penetrate the seed coat. Tomato seeds were the focus of this study, and the objectives [...] Read more.
Seed treatments are frequently applied for the management of early-season pests, including seed-borne pathogens. However, to be effective against internal pathogens, the active ingredient must be able to penetrate the seed coat. Tomato seeds were the focus of this study, and the objectives were to (1) evaluate three coumarin fluorescent tracers in terms of uptake and (2) quantify seed coat permeability in relation to lipophilicity to better elucidate chemical movement in seed tissue. Uptake in seeds treated with coumarin 1, 120, and 151 was assessed by fluorescence microscopy. For quantitative studies, a series of 11 n-alkyl piperonyl amides with log Kow in the range of 0.02–5.66 were applied, and two portions, namely, the embryo, and the endosperm + seed coat, were analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Coumarin 120 with the lowest log Kow of 1.3 displayed greater seed uptake than coumarin 1 with a log Kow of 2.9. In contrast, the optimal log Kow for embryo uptake ranged from 2.9 to 3.3 derived from the amide series. Therefore, heterogeneous coumarin tracers were not suitable to determine optimal log Kow for uptake. Three tomato varieties were investigated with the amide series, and the maximum percent recovered in the embryonic tissue ranged from only 1.2% to 5%. These data suggest that the application of active ingredients as seed treatments could result in suboptimal concentrations in the embryo being efficacious. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Seed Technology)
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Article
Migration of Oil Bodies in Embryo Cells during Acquisition of Desiccation Tolerance in Chemically Defoliated Corn (Zea mays L.) Seed Production Fields
Agriculture 2021, 11(2), 129; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11020129 - 05 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 701
Abstract
Chemical defoliation of seed corn production fields accelerates seed maturation and desiccation and expedites seed harvest. Early seed harvest is important to minimize the risk of frost damage while in the field. This newly adopted seed production practice also allows seed companies to [...] Read more.
Chemical defoliation of seed corn production fields accelerates seed maturation and desiccation and expedites seed harvest. Early seed harvest is important to minimize the risk of frost damage while in the field. This newly adopted seed production practice also allows seed companies to plan harvest and manage dryer space more efficiently. However, premature defoliation may interfere with the migration of oil bodies within embryo cells during desiccation and affect seed germination and vigor. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of chemical defoliation on the migration patterns of oil bodies within embryo cells during desiccation. Chemically defoliated and non-defoliated plants from five commercial hybrid seed corn fields were sampled in 2014 and 2015. Whole ears with husks were harvested before and after defoliant application at 600 g H2O kg−1 fresh weight (fw), and weekly thereafter until seed reached approximately 300–350 g H2O kg−1 fw. Ten embryos extracted from center-row seeds were fixed to stop metabolic processes, then sliced, processed, and photographed using scanning transmission electron microscopy. The oil bodies within embryo cells followed normal migration patterns according to seed moisture content, regardless of defoliation treatment. Seed germination and vigor were verified and were not significantly affected by defoliation. Chemical defoliation is a viable production practice to accelerate seed corn desiccation and to manage harvest and seed dryer availability more efficiently without negatively affecting seed germination and vigor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Seed Technology)
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Article
Developing Production Guidelines for Baby Leaf Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) as an Edible Salad Green: Cultivar, Sowing Density and Seed Size
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 617; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture10120617 - 09 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1981
Abstract
Scientific literature is lacking on cultural practices of baby leaf hemp production even though hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) is a widely grown crop for fiber and grain. The objective of this study was to develop a standard protocol to optimize yield and [...] Read more.
Scientific literature is lacking on cultural practices of baby leaf hemp production even though hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) is a widely grown crop for fiber and grain. The objective of this study was to develop a standard protocol to optimize yield and quality of baby leaf hemp production: cultivar screening, sowing density and seed size. Fresh weight (FW) and germination percentage was significantly affected by cultivars. Cultivars ‘Picolo’ and ‘X-59’ had a greater FW mainly due to greater germination percentage. In the sowing density experiment, ‘Ferimon’ and ‘Katani’ were evaluated at five seed densities, 0.65, 1.2, 1.75, 2.3 and 2.85 seeds·cm−2 (42 to 182 seeds per cell). The FW and FW per plant (FWPP) had a positive quadratic response and negative quadratic response, respectively. Regarding seed size, cultivars ‘Anka,’ ‘Ferimon’ and ‘Picolo’ had the largest percentage of seeds, 26% to 30%, within the medium width size between 3.18 and 3.37 mm. Using the largest sized seeds (3.77 mm) increased FW by 34%, 26% and 23% as compared to non-sorted ‘Anka’, ‘Ferimon’ and ‘Picolo’ seeds, respectively. Overall, a greater understanding of cultivar selection, sowing density and seed-size distribution can promote greater yield and quality of baby leaf hemp as an edible salad green. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Seed Technology)
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Article
Evaluating Genotypes and Seed Treatments to Increase Field Emergence of Low Phytic Acid Soybeans
Agriculture 2020, 10(11), 516; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture10110516 - 30 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 812
Abstract
Low phytic acid (LPA) soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr] genotypes reduce indigestible PA in soybean seeds in order to improve feeding efficiency of mono- and agastric animals, but often exhibit low field emergence, resulting in reduced yield. In this study, four LPA [...] Read more.
Low phytic acid (LPA) soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr] genotypes reduce indigestible PA in soybean seeds in order to improve feeding efficiency of mono- and agastric animals, but often exhibit low field emergence, resulting in reduced yield. In this study, four LPA soybean varieties with two different genetic backgrounds were studied to assess their emergence and yield characters under 12 seed treatment combinations including two broad-spectrum, preplant fungicides (i.e., ApronMaxx (mefenoxam: (R,S)-2-[(2,6-dimethylphenyl)-methoxyacetylamino]-propionic acid methyl ester; fludioxonil: 4-(2,2-difluoro-1,3-benzodioxol-4-yl)-1H-pyrrole-3-carbonitrile) and Rancona Summit (ipconazole: 2-[(4-chlorophenyl)methyl]-5-(1-methylethyl)-1-(1H-1,2,4-triazol-1-ylmethyl) cyclopentanol; metalaxyl: N-(methooxyacetyl)-N-(2,6-xylyl)-DL-alaninate)), osmotic priming, and MicroCel-E coating. Two normal-PA (NPA) varieties served as controls. Both irrigated and non-irrigated plots were planted in Blacksburg and Orange, Virginia, USA in 2014 and 2015. Results revealed that three seed treatments (fungicides Rancona Summit and ApronMaxx, as well as Priming + Rancona) significantly improved field emergence by 6.4–11.6% across all genotypes, compared with untreated seeds. Seed priming was negatively associated with emergence across LPA genotypes. Seed treatments did not increase the yield of any genotype. LPA genotypes containing mips or lpa1/lpa2 mutations, produced satisfactory emergence similar to NPA under certain soil and environmental conditions due to the interaction of genotype and environment. Effective seed treatments applied to LPA soybeans along with the successful development of LPA germplasm by soybean breeding programs, will increase use of LPA varieties by commercial soybean growers, ultimately improving animal nutrition while easing environmental impact. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Seed Technology)
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Article
Effect of Seed Priming with Potassium Nitrate on the Performance of Tomato
Agriculture 2020, 10(11), 498; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture10110498 - 25 Oct 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 1547
Abstract
The seed industry and farmers have challenges, which include the production of poor quality and non-certified tomato seed, which ultimately results in decreased crop production. The issue carefully demands pre-sowing treatments using exogenous chemical plant growth-promoting substances. Therefore, to mitigate the above-stated problem, [...] Read more.
The seed industry and farmers have challenges, which include the production of poor quality and non-certified tomato seed, which ultimately results in decreased crop production. The issue carefully demands pre-sowing treatments using exogenous chemical plant growth-promoting substances. Therefore, to mitigate the above-stated problem, a series of experiments were conducted to improve the quality of tomato seeds (two cultivars, i.e., “Sundar” and “Ahmar”) and to enhance the stand establishment, vigor, physiological, and biochemical attributes under growth chamber and greenhouse conditions by using potassium nitrate (KNO3) as a seed priming agent. Seeds were imbibed in 0.25, 0.50, 0.75, 1.0, and 1.25 KNO3 (weight/volume) for 24 h and then dried before experiments. The results of growth chamber and greenhouse screening show that experimental units receiving tomato seeds primed with 0.75% KNO3 in both cultivars performed better as compared to other concentrations and nonprimed control. Significant increase in final emergence (%), mean emergence time, and physiological attributes were observed with 0.75% KNO3. Collectively, the improved performance of tomato due to seed priming with 0.75% KNO3 was linked with higher activities of total soluble sugars and phenolics under growth chamber and greenhouse screening. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Seed Technology)
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Article
Using Multispectral Imaging for Detecting Seed-Borne Fungi in Cowpea
Agriculture 2020, 10(8), 361; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture10080361 - 17 Aug 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1678
Abstract
Recent advances in multispectral imaging-based technology have provided useful information on seed health in order to optimize the quality control process. In this study, we verified the efficiency of multispectral imaging (MSI) combined with statistical models to assess the cowpea seed health and [...] Read more.
Recent advances in multispectral imaging-based technology have provided useful information on seed health in order to optimize the quality control process. In this study, we verified the efficiency of multispectral imaging (MSI) combined with statistical models to assess the cowpea seed health and differentiate seeds carrying different fungal species. Seeds were artificially inoculated with Fusarium pallidoroseum, Rhizoctonia solani and Aspergillus sp. Multispectral images were acquired at 19 wavelengths (365 to 970 nm) from inoculated seeds and freeze-killed ‘incubated’ seeds. Statistical models based on linear discriminant analysis (LDA) were developed using reflectance, color and texture features of the seed images. Results demonstrated that the LDA-based models were efficient in detecting and identifying different species of fungi in cowpea seeds. The model showed above 92% accuracy before incubation and 99% after incubation, indicating that the MSI technique in combination with statistical models can be a useful tool for evaluating the health status of cowpea seeds. Our findings can be a guide for the development of in-depth studies with more cultivars and fungal species, isolated and in association, for the successful application of MSI in the routine health inspection of cowpea seeds and other important legumes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Seed Technology)
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Article
Humic Substances Improve Vegetable Seedling Quality and Post-Transplant Yield Performance under Stress Conditions
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 254; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture10070254 - 01 Jul 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1221
Abstract
Vegetable growers require vigorous transplants in order to reduce the period of transplant shock during early stand establishment. Organic media containing solid humic substances (HS) are amendments that have not been comprehensively explored for applications in containerized vegetable transplant production systems. In this [...] Read more.
Vegetable growers require vigorous transplants in order to reduce the period of transplant shock during early stand establishment. Organic media containing solid humic substances (HS) are amendments that have not been comprehensively explored for applications in containerized vegetable transplant production systems. In this study, HS (1% v/v) were applied to a peat-based growth medium to evaluate pre- and post-transplant growth modulation of four economically important vegetable species. Those were: pepper, tomato, watermelon, and lettuce. Seeding for all species was performed in two periods in order to evaluate their post-transplant yield performance under drought (water deficit vs. well-watered) and heat (hot vs. cool season) stresses. Compared with control, HS-treated plants had: (1) increased leaf and root biomass after transplanting due to faster growth rates; (2) lower root/shoot ratio before transplanting, but higher after 10 days of field establishment; and (3) increased root length and surface area. The negative effects of heat and drought stresses on crop yield were more prominent in control plants, while HS-treated transplants were able to mitigate yield decreases. The results clearly demonstrated the benefits of using solid HS as a management input to improve transplant quality in these crop species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Seed Technology)
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Article
Systemic Uptake of Fluorescent Tracers by Soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) Seed and Seedlings
Agriculture 2020, 10(6), 248; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture10060248 - 26 Jun 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1463
Abstract
Systemic seed treatment uptake was investigated in seeds and seedlings using fluorescent tracers to mimic systemic agrochemicals. Soybean was used as the model as soybean has the permeable seed coat characteristic to both charged and noncharged molecules. The purpose of the paper is [...] Read more.
Systemic seed treatment uptake was investigated in seeds and seedlings using fluorescent tracers to mimic systemic agrochemicals. Soybean was used as the model as soybean has the permeable seed coat characteristic to both charged and noncharged molecules. The purpose of the paper is to (1) screen 32 fluorescent tracers and then use optimal tracers for seed and seedling uptake, (2) investigate varietal differences in seed uptake, (3) examine the distribution of tracer uptake into 14-day-old seedlings, and (4) study the relationship between seed treatment lipophilicity, measured as log P on seed and root uptake. The major chemical families that displayed both seed and seedling uptake were coumarins and xanthenes. Seed uptake of coumarin 120 ranged from 1.1% to 4.8% of the applied seed treatment tracer from 15 yellow-seeded varieties. Rhodamine B, a xanthene compound uptake in seedlings, showed translocation from the applied seed treatment to all seedling tissues. Most of the tracer was measured in the hypocotyl and root, with lesser amounts in the epicotyl and true leaves. Log P is well documented in the literature to model systemic uptake by roots, but log P of the tracers were not related to seed uptake. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Seed Technology)
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Review

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Review
The Use of Multispectral Imaging and Single Seed and Bulk Near-Infrared Spectroscopy to Characterize Seed Covering Structures: Methods and Applications in Seed Testing and Research
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 301; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11040301 - 01 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1102
Abstract
The objective of seed testing is to provide high-quality seeds in terms of high varietal identity and purity, germination capacity, and seed health. Across the seed industry, it is widely acknowledged that quality assessment needs an upgrade and improvement by inclusion of faster [...] Read more.
The objective of seed testing is to provide high-quality seeds in terms of high varietal identity and purity, germination capacity, and seed health. Across the seed industry, it is widely acknowledged that quality assessment needs an upgrade and improvement by inclusion of faster and more cost-effective techniques. Consequently, there is a need to develop and apply new techniques alongside the classical testing methods, to increase efficiency, reduce analysis time, and meet the needs of stakeholders in seed testing. Multispectral imaging (MSI) and near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) are both quick and non-destructive methods that attract attention in seed research and in the seed industry. This review addresses the potential benefits and challenges of using MSI and NIRS for seed testing with a comprehensive focus on applications in physical and physiological seed quality as well as seed health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Seed Technology)
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Review
Modern Seed Technology: Seed Coating Delivery Systems for Enhancing Seed and Crop Performance
Agriculture 2020, 10(11), 526; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture10110526 - 05 Nov 2020
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 3810
Abstract
The objective of modern seed-coating technology is to uniformly apply a wide range of active components (ingredients) onto crop seeds at desired dosages so as to facilitate sowing and enhance crop performance. There are three major types of seed treating/coating equipment: dry powder [...] Read more.
The objective of modern seed-coating technology is to uniformly apply a wide range of active components (ingredients) onto crop seeds at desired dosages so as to facilitate sowing and enhance crop performance. There are three major types of seed treating/coating equipment: dry powder applicator, rotary pan, and pelleting pan with the provisions to apply dry powders, liquids, or a combination of both. Additional terms for coatings produced from these types of equipment include dry coating, seed dressing, film coating, encrustments, and seed pelleting. The seed weight increases for these different coating methods ranges from <0.05% to >5000% (>100,000-fold range). Modern coating technology provides a delivery system for many other materials including biostimulants, nutrients, and plant protectants. This review summarizes seed coating technologies and their potential benefits to enhance seed performance, improve crop establishment, and provide early season pest management for sustainable agricultural systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Seed Technology)
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