Water is the limiting factor for agriculture in many of the world’s semiarid regions, where crops are lost to drought in their early stages of life, during germination and as young seedlings. Scientists have developed a new seed coating, made from biodegradable waste products and applied directly to seeds before they are planted, to help seeds survive and germinate in dry conditions. The new seed coating consists of two layers: an inner one containing a nitrogen-fixing bacteria, and an outer one to hold moisture, much like a chia seed. Field trials with the new seeds are underway, but the key challenge to their adoption will be the cost. What do you get when you combine silk cocoons, orange peel waste, beneficial bacteria, and a dash of innovation? Quite possibly a solution to growing crops in dry places, one group of researchers hopes. Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the King Mohammed VI Polytechnic University in Morocco have developed a new coating to help seeds survive and germinate in semiarid conditions. Their development has been published in the journal Nature Food . The new seed coating consists of two layers of material applied directly to seeds before […]

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