|Title of Invention||
A PROCESS FOR ENHANCEMENT AND/OR INCORPORATION OF NATURAL FERTILISERS ON SEED SURFACE
|Abstract||A novel process involving combination of continuous and pulsed plasma discharge for enhancement and/or incorporation of natural fertilises on seed surface to improve germination rate, germination activities, reduce to germination time, and to modify natural extracts levels has been developed. Individual or combination of different types of inert and non-inert gases discharge with controlled chamber environment has been developed to treat medicinal and crop seeds to enhancement and/or incorporate elements of fertilisers on seed surfaces. This novel process is also suitable for modification of natural extracts levels such as carbohydrates, proteins and other micro nutrient This novel process at low pressure range is also useful for deposition of natural compositions of all types of seeds onto other substrates (such as glass, polymers and metals) for different types of optical, biological and chemical applications.|
Title: A novel process for treatment of seed surface for enhancement and/or incorporation of elements of fertilises on seed surface to improve germination and growth.
Field of Invention; A novel process for enhancement of germination rate, germination activities, reduction of the germination time, by enhancement and/or incorporation of elements of fertilises on seed surface using plasma modification of seed surface. This novel process involves continuous and combination of continuous and pulsed plasma discharges in range of working pressure from above 2 Torr and bellow 10-1 Torr and power density 2×102 to 2×104 Wm-3. Individual or combination of different types of inert and non-inert gases discharge with controlled chamber environment can used to treat medicinal and crop seeds to enhance and/or incorporate elements on seed surfaces for better growth of plants.
Traditionally a number of processes were used to increase the germination rate such as mechanical modification of seeds by scratching of seed coat, chemical and heat treatments. All these process have limitations such as higher possibilities of destructions of seeds, non-uniform treatment of the seeds, chemical treatments can pollute environment etc. [H.T. Hartmann and D.E. Kester. Plant propagation, principles and practices, 4th Edition Prentice-Hall Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey (1983); H.T. Hartmann, D.E. Kester, F.T. Davies, Jr. Robert, L. Geneve, L. Plant propagation: principles and practices. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. ISBN 0-13-206103-1 (1997)].
As current concern about human heath and interest of public towards organic foods, development of an environment friendly process is important to increase the germination rate and activity of fresh/long stored useful seeds for the conservation of rare and valuable plants and grain seeds. In this invention low and high pressure gas discharge application for enhancement and/or incorporation of some elements on seed surface of the seeds, specially which are difficult to germinate or suffer from high mortality at the seedling stage due to fungal infections has been discovered. Since many years low pressure gas discharges have been used for a wide range of
technological applications [M.A. Liebermann and A.J. Lichtenberg. Principles of plasma discharges and materials processing. New York: John Wiley (1994); M. Dhayal, H.G. Jeong, and J.S. Choi. 252 (2005) 1710; H. Yasuda. Plasma polymerisation. Academic press, London (1985); Marshal Dhayal, "Plasma treatment and deposition of polymeric materials with applications in life science" PhD thesis Department of physics, UMIST, Manchester, England (2003); M Dhayal, Vacuum, 80(5) (2006) 488; Marshal Dhayal, SY Lee and SU Park, Vacuum, 80(5) (2006) 499.]. For different applications, the plasma process is commonly used for ion etching, ion assisted deposition and implantation, surface modification and plasma polymerisation where control of ion energy and ion flux at the substrate to change physical and chemical surface properties is main interest of research [M.A. Liebermann and A.J. Lichtenberg. Principles of plasma discharges and materials processing. New York: John Wiley (1994), M. Dhayal, D. Forder, K.L. Parry, R.D. Short, D. Barton and J.W. Bradley, 162 (2003) 294; M. Dhayal, D. Forder, R.D. Short and J.W. Bradley, Vacuum 70(1) (2003) 67; M. Dhayal, D. Forder, K.L. Parry, R.D. Short and J.W. Bradley, Surface and Coatings Technology 174-175 (2003) 872; Marshal Dhayal, Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology A, 24(5) (2006) 1751.]. In this current invention the applications of low temperature plasma (gas discharge) in plant science has been discussed.
As it is well know that to increase the activity and growth of crops, a number of fertilises containing nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) are used. Most of fertilisers require many chemicals that are harmful for the soil, environment and for the human health. Therefore, continuous use of these fertilisers is a matter of concern for soil and environmental preservation.
In this invention the elements of natural fertilizers (such as N, P, K, O, Ca et.al.) have been incorporated and/or enhanced at the surface of the seeds using gas discharge. This process can increase the germination rate and activity of germination process which could lead to better production yield. As it discussed the N, P, K are very important elements used in fertilizers to increase the growth and activity of crops and medicinal plants.
Object of Invention;
Development of an alternative process to incorporate and/or enhance the useful elements (such as N. P, K, Ca etc) at the seed surface will lead to increase in the activity and effective growth of crop at the seeding stage.
Statement of Invention;
Traditionally a number of processes were used to increase the germination rate of seed such as mechanical modification by scratching of seed coat, chemical and heat treatment. All these process have limitations such as higher possibilities of destructions of seeds, non uniform treatment for all the seeds, chemical treatment can pollute environment. Therefore, in this invention low pressure gas discharge was used as an environmental friendly alternative process to incorporate and enhance the useful elements (such as N. P, K, Ca etc) at the seed surface to increase the activity and effective growth of crop at the seeding stage rather than using chemically harmful fertilises for soil and environment.
A brief description of the accompanying drawing:
A schematic of plasma apparatus is shown in figure that has been used for incorporate
and/or enhance the useful chemicals (such as N. P, K, Ca etc) at the seed surface.
Incorporation of these chemicals at seed surface has increased the germination
activity, rate and reduced the germination time. Details description of the different
parts of plasma apparatus shown in drawing 1 is as follow:
 Gas supply,
 Driver electrode,
 Sample holder,
 Plasma treatment chamber,
 Matching unit,
 RF power supply,
 Turbo pump,
 Rotary pump,
 Valve between 5 and 8,  Valve between 8 and 9,  Valve between 5 and 9,  Connecting cable  Pressure monitoring gauge
Detailed description of the drawing
The gas discharge chamber is a stainless steel/glass vessel which is connected to a vacuum pump that allows control of base pressure from atmospheric pressure to below 10-8 torr as shown in drawing 1. The gas or gases discharge sustained through 13.56 MHz radio frequency (RF) (RF can also be replaced with micro-wave and director current excitations to obtained same power densities). The dimensions of driving electrode used can be varied in range of from 5 % upto 50% of inside diameter of chamber in which the gas discharge is sustained. Driver electrode is connected to power supply via a dual matching unit which can be directed towards capacitive and inductive matching of RF power. Gas discharge excitation powers varied in range of powder density mentioned above. Seeds has been placed on a floating (sample holder does not draw any current) sample holder (the dimensions can be enlarged in reference with used power, pressure, size of driver electrode, and its location from the driver electrode in the discharge). It should be noted that in this process no grounded electrode has been used and chamber itself connected to ground which is acting as a grounded electrode for the discharge.
Details of operation of process:
First the seeds are be placed in a tray and mounted on the sample holder (4 in drawing 1) inside the plasma (gas discharge) treatment chamber (5 in drawing 1). After placing seeds in the sample holder, the plasma treatment chamber will be closed and vales 10, 11 will also be closed. At this stage vale 12 is open and using rotary pump (9 in drawing 1) vacuum is obtained for 20 to 30 minutes (depending on volume of chamber and capacity of rotary pump) to operate system above ltorr pressure . To operate this system below 10'1 torr, vale 12 will be closed and together vales 10 and 11 will be opened. Wait until get a good base pressure (say order of 10"6 torr or
required base pressure in range of 10'2 to 10'5 torr for operating air gas discharges). After having a desired base pressure, gas line (1 in drawing 1) will be open to insert gas or gases (such as oxygen, nitrogen, argon, helium etc with any combination) into the chamber. Now controlling gas flow rate by gas flow controller (as part of gas line) a required gas pressure will be maintained inside the plasma processing chamber. After adjusting the gas pressure in side the plasma treatment chamber, power supply (7 in drawing 1) and matching unit (6 in drawing 1) will be turned on. Now the RF power and matching condition will be tuned according the types of gas and pressure used. This system (first getting higher base pressure and inserting desire gas to achieve higher pressure of desired gas or gases) can also operate at relatively higher pressure (above lOOmTorr) by using only rotary pump.
Detailed of the invention
To test the enhancement and/or incorporation of elements of natural fertilisers on seed surface gas discharge (plasma) has been used. As a proof of concept two different types of seeds (first represents from medicinal plant and second used from the crop used for eating) surface modification was carried out. In this process no chemicals has been used only reactive species or radical of different gases were crated and incorporated at seed surface in the process and elements such as Nitrogen has been incorporated to the seed surface. In this process with selection of gas or gases in the discharges, other important parameter is utilizing impurities (such as N2, water vapour etc. [Marshal Dhayal, Morgan R Alexander and James W Bradley, Applied Surface Science, 252(22), 2006, 7957.]) present in the chamber depending on base pressure are also very important for controlling relative proportion of elements such as N, Ca, P, K on seed surface after treatment either by etching of top surface layer of seeds or depositing these materials on the seed surfaces. Other important application of this process is to control the process conditions (pressure Enhancement and/or incorporation of natural fertilisers (N, O, K, Ca, P etc.) on seeds surface after plasma treatment has been verified using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) measurement and drawing 2 representation of plasma treated and
untreated Carthamus tinctorium L. seeds elemental composition at the surface of seed. The % proportions as oxygen, nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, potassium have been increased at the seeds surface. This increase in the oxygen and nitrogen probably due to reactive oxygen and nitrogen present in the chamber during the process [Marshal Dhayal, Morgan R Alexander and James W Bradley, Applied Surface Science, 252(22), 2006, 7957.]. The results also show an increase in Ca, K and P at the surface after the plasma treatment. The increase in K from 0 to 1.2 indicates that first no K was at the surface and it may be occurred due to etching outer layer of seed surfaces by the plasma. The surface etching or modification in low pressure gas discharge can also increase the possibilities seed surface to absorb oxygen and nitrogen present in the chamber and/or in inert atmosphere.
As the surface analysis of plasma treated seeds showed an increase in O, N, Ca, P, K and possibly more reactive functionalities at the seed. This has resulted into enhancement in seed germination rate, activity and germination time. The germination process for plasma treated seeds starts before relative to untreated seeds. Therefore, the germination time of plasma modified seeds can be reduced. The germination rate and germination activity of plasma treated seed was also significantly increased for the plasma treated seeds.
This invention shows that increase in N, P and K at the seed surface may be able to utilize as a natural fertilisers during germination process. This can also possibly reduce sugar contents of plants such as rice. Different types of gases such as Argon, helium, oxygen, nitrogen etc can be used in this process as well as the process could also be in DC discharge.
This invention is useful for fertilizers industries where the physical and chemical vapour deposition techniques can be used for incorporation of elements of natural fertilizers on seed surface which are essential for growth of plats. Other industrial applications are for enhancing seed germination rate and activity of long term stored seeds. This technology can also be used for protecting seeds and enhancing seed germination rates of seed used by farmers for crop development. Additionally seed composition can also be coated on other substrates for different types of chemical, physical and biological applications.
(1) A novel process for enhancement and/or incorporation of elements of fertilises on seed surface to improve germination rate, germination activities, reduce to germination time, and to modify natural extracts levels. This process involves continuous and combination of continuous and pulsed plasma discharge of inert and non-inert gases discharge (in range of working pressure from above 2 Torr and bellow 10-1 Torr and power density 1x102 to 5×104 Wm-3) with controlled chamber environment to treat medicinal and crop seeds to enhancement and/or incorporate elements of fertilisers on seed surfaces.
(2) A novel process as claimed in claim 1 to increase production yield and to modify natural extracts levels such as carbohydrates, proteins and other micro nutrient as well as deposit all types of seeds compositions onto other substrates (such as glass, polymers and metals) for different types of optical, biological and chemical applications.
(3) A novel process as claimed in claim 1 in which controlling chamber impurities (such as N2, water vapour etc.) in combination with different types of inert gases (such as argon, helium etc) discharge for enhancement and/or incorporation of natural fertilisers on seed surface and to increase the surface biochemical activities of seeds for protection of seeds and better growth of plant.
(4) As claimed in claim 1 in which using any physical and chemical vapour deposition techniques to enhancement and/or incorporate elements of fertilises on seed surface to improve germination rate, germination activities, reduce to germination time.
|Indian Patent Application Number||2261/DEL/2006|
|PG Journal Number||20/2010|
|Date of Filing||16-Oct-2006|
|Name of Patentee||DR.MARSHAL|
|Applicant Address||VPO-MADHOPURA, VIA-BALARAN, DIST.-SIKAR, RAJASTHAN-332401, INDIA.|
|PCT International Classification Number||C05F|
|PCT International Application Number||N/A|
|PCT International Filing date|