Hyderabad, India – Scientists at the Indian Institute of Technology in Hyderabad have developed a neem oil encapsulated electrospun PU nanofibrous bag for seed storage. Neem oil is a naturally occurring pesticide extracted from the fruit and seeds of the neem tree, Azadirachta indica, whose active ingredients include the insect antifeedant azadirachtin.
The availability of healthy seeds is important if high crop yields are to be achieved, and proper storage of harvested seeds is essential. Significant seed storage loss can occur for a number of reasons, including varying temperature and humidity, the presence of rodents and insects, and microbial infestation.
The team looked at how the new PU seed storage bag performed, with neem oil loadings of 3, 5 and 10% w/v. The interaction of the neem oil with the PU was correlated with thermal stability and mechanical strength, and compared with commercially available polypropylene storage bags.
A real-time storage experiment showed that after 75 days, 90% of the seeds in the new bags were uninfected. In contrast, 70% of those contained within the PP bags were infected with storage fungi.
‘These nanofabric bags show a great potential toward reducing seed storage losses and may be a game changer for achieving food security as one of the goal for sustainable development,’ the team said.
The work has been published in the Journal of Applied Polymer Science.