Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fraunhofer FEP Process disinfects Seeds effectively and efficiently

15.06.2011
Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP in Dresden have developed a process for effectively and efficiently freeing seeds of pathogens such as bacteria and fungi.

Pathogenic EHEC bacteria have recently caused widespread illness in Germany and Europe and this has created huge uncertainty for consumers. The latest reports point the finger at the seeds of bean shoots as possibly being the source of the EHEC bacteria contamination.


A germ-free seed product from the Fraunhofer FEP sterilization process
© Fraunhofer FEP

Regardless of what source is eventually found, recent weeks have brought home the severe consequences of contaminated food and highlighted the importance of effective treatment of seeds and efficient sterilization of foods.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP in Dresden has for some years had a proven technology for effectively rendering pathogens such as bacteria and fungi on seeds harmless.

The process utilizes low-energy electrons to kill germs. The special configuration of the equipment means that the seeds are separated and that the electrons can bombard the seeds from all sides. The electrons only act on and in the seed coat, and the ability of the seeds to germinate and the DNA of the seeds are not adversely affected. A special quality monitoring system safeguards and manages the quality of the seed treatment, ensuring the maximum effect for optimum plant tolerance. As the treatment involves solely a physical process, the harmful organisms cannot develop resistance as can occur when antibiotics are used. In addition, there is no use of chemicals and so the environment and the health of users are not impacted.

In Germany the effectiveness of electron treatment on many types of cereal seeds and against various pathogens (including pseudomonas bacteria) has been demonstrated. Many years of collaborative work with the Julius-Kühn-Institute have confi rmed that the electron treatment of seeds is suitable for different cultivation conditions. Besides the Julius-Kühn-Institute, the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) also recommends the seed sterilization process using electrons for both conventional and organic agriculture. A mobile system for seed treatment using electrons is already available. This has an hourly seed throughput of up to 30 metric tons. Up until now some 4000 to 5000 metric tons of seed per year have been processed in Germany using this technology and subsequently cultivated in conventional and organic agriculture. This has predominantly concerned cereal seeds (wheat, barley, oats), and also seeds from rape, leguminous plants, and vegetables. Frank-Holm Rögner, head of the Electron Beam Processes business unit at the Fraunhofer FEP, stresses: “The electron treatment of seeds is an advanced technology and is already available in Saxony. Expansion of the technology to the sterilization of foods is certainly feasible from a technological point of view.” The treatment of foods with accelerated electrons is currently not permitted in Germany. An ongoing study by the EU has, however, shown that accelerated electrons have no adverse effects on the properties of foods compared to foods sterilized using conventional methods.

Scientific contact:
Frank-Holm Rögner
Fraunhofer Institute for Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP
Phone +49 351 2586-242
frank-holm.roegner@fep.fraunhofer.de
Press contact:
Annett Arnold
Fraunhofer Institute for Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP
Phone +49 351 2586-452
annett.arnold@fep.fraunhofer.de

Annett Arnold | Fraunhofer-Institut
Further information:
http://www.fep.fraunhofer.de

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor

24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Nanoimprinted hyperlens array: Paving the way for practical super-resolution imaging

24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria's ability to evade immune system defenses

24.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>