Skip to main content Accessibility help

Seed treatments: phytotoxicity amelioration and tracer uptake

  • A.G. Taylor (a1) and Y.A. Salanenka (a1)

Seed treatments are used globally on a wide range of field, vegetable and ornamental seeds, for efficient early season control of insects and diseases. However, specific seed-treatment compounds may be phytotoxic and this phytotoxicity is most acute in laboratory germination tests. Several strategies have been developed to alleviate seed-treatment phytotoxicity that include spatial separation of the pesticide from the seed. This can be accomplished by the application of the active compounds at the end of pelleting or by using a two-pellet system, termed ‘smart-pill technology’. Another approach is to detoxify or adsorb the agrochemical in a standard germination test by applying a peat medium over the seeds in a roll towel or blotter test. Many new seed-treatment chemicals have systemic activity, and the efficacy of these systemic seed treatments depends on the ability of these applied chemical compounds to be absorbed, and then transported in the developing plant. The present article describes seed-coat permeability to systemic seed treatments, examined by monitoring the movement of fluorescent tracers into intact seeds during imbibition. Two moderately lipophilic, fluorescent tracers have been used – rhodamine (ionic) and coumarin (non-ionic) – which differ mainly in electrical charge. Seed-coat permeabilities of particular species have been grouped into three categories: (1) permeable to both tracers; (2) selectively permeable to only coumarin; and (3) non-permeable to both tracers. The ability of a particular compound to diffuse through the seed coat is related to the chemical nature of the seed-covering tissues and the physico-chemical properties of the compound applied.

Corresponding author
*Correspondence Email:
Hide All
AOSA (2009) Rules for testing seeds. Ithaca, New York, Association of Official Seed Analists.
Beresniewicz, M.B., Taylor, A.G., Goffinet, M.C. and Koeller, W.D. (1995 a) Chemical nature of a semipermeable layer in seed coats of leek, onion, tomato and pepper. Seed Science and Technology 23, 135145.
Beresniewicz, M.B., Taylor, A.G., Goffinet, M.C. and Terhune, B.T. (1995 b) Seed coat integrity in relation to amino acid leakage in onion and leek. Plant Varieties and Seeds 8, 8796.
Briggs, G., Bromilow, R. and Evans, A. (1982) Relationships between lipophilicity and root uptake and translocation of non-ionized chemicals by barley. Pesticide Science 13, 495504.
Copeland, L.O. and McDonald, M.B. (2001) Principles of seed science and technology (4th edition). Dordrecht, Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Edgington, L.V. and Peterson, C.A. (1977) Systemic fungicides: theory, uptake and translocation. pp. 5189 in Siegel, M; Sisler, H.D. (Eds) Antifungal compounds, Vol. 2. New York, Marcel Dekker.
Halmer, P. (1999) Commercial seed treatment technology. pp. 257286 in Black, M; Bewley, J.D. (Eds) Seed technology and its biological basis. Sheffield, Sheffield Academic Press.
Halmer, P., Bewley, J.D. and Thorpe, T.A. (1975) Enzyme to break down lettuce endosperm cell wall during gibberellin- and light-induced germination. Nature 258, 716718.
Hansen, J.R. and Buchholtz, K.P. (1952) Absorption of 2,4-D by corn and pea seeds. Agronomy Journal 44, 493496.
Hill, H.J. (1999) Recent developments in seed technology. Journal of New Seeds 1, 105112.
Kanampiu, F., Karaya, H., Burnet, M. and Gressel, J. (2009) Needs for and effectiveness of slow release herbicide seed treatment Striga control formulations for protection against early season crop phytotoxicity. Crop Protection 28, 845853.
Kuhar, T.P., Stivers-Young, L.J., Hoffmann, M.P. and Taylor, A.G. (2002) Control of corn flea beetle and Stewart's wilt in sweet corn with imidacloprid and thiamethoxam seed treatments. Crop Protection 21, 2531.
Rieder, G., Buchholtz, K.P. and Kust, C.A. (1970) Uptake of herbicides by soybean seed. Weed Science 18, 101105.
Russell, P.E. and Mussa, A.E.A. (1977) An evaluation of potential seed treatments to control Fusarium solani f.sp. phaseoli, the cause of foot and root rot of Phaseolus vulgaris. Journal of Agriculture Science 89, 235238.
Salanenka, Y.A., Goffinet, M.C. and Taylor, A.G. (2009) Structure and histochemistry of the micropylar and chalazal regions of the perisperm–endosperm envelope of cucumber seed associated with solute permeability and germination. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Sciences 134, 479487.
Salanenka, Y.A. and Taylor, A.G. (2009) Uptake of model compounds by soybean, switchgrass and castor seeds applied as seed treatments. pp. 7681 in Symposium Proceedings No. 83. Seed production and treatment in a changing environment. Alton, Hampshire, UK, British Crop Protection Council.
Salanenka, Y.A. and Taylor, A.G. (2011) Seedcoat permeability: uptake and post-germination transport of applied tracer compounds. HortScience 46, 622626.
Simpson, G.M. (1990) Seed dormancy in grasses. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Taylor, A.G. (2003) Seed treatments. pp. 12911298 in Thomas, B.D.; Murphy, J.; Murray, B.G. (Eds) Encyclopedia of applied plant sciences. Kidlington, Oxford, UK: Elsevier Academic Press.
Taylor, A.G., Eckenrode, C.J. and Straub, R.W. (2001) Seed treatments for onions: challenges and progress. HortScience 36, 199205.
Tetteroo, F., Kofman, F. and Legro, B. (2009) Smart pellet technology for safe and accurate insecticide applications. pp. 4349 in Symposium Proceedings No. 83. Seed production and treatment in a changing environment. Alton, Hampshire, UK, British Crop Protection Council.
Thapliyal, P.N. and Sinclair, J.B. (1970) Uptake of the three systemic fungicides by germinating soybean seed. Phytopathology 60, 13731375.
Yim, K.O. and Bradford, K.J. (1998) Callose deposition is responsible for apoplastic semipermeability of the endosperm envelope of muskmelon seeds. Plant Physiology 118, 8390.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Seed Science Research
  • ISSN: 0960-2585
  • EISSN: 1475-2735
  • URL: /core/journals/seed-science-research
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed