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RF Electrical Seed Treatment to Improve Germination

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2018 ASABE Annual International Meeting  1800018.(doi:10.13031/aim.201800018)
Authors:   Stuart O. Nelson
Keywords:   Alfalfa seed, hard seed, radio-frequency heating, seed germination, seed treatment, small-seeded legumes, tree seeds. vegetable seed.


An historical background on electrical treatment to improve seed germination and seedling performance is presented. Studies on use of radio-frequency (RF) dielectric heating for increasing germination through reduction of hard seed percentages, i.e. increasing seed-coat permeability to water, are reviewed. Extensive studies on treatment of alfalfa seed with RF exposures for increasing germination through hard seed reduction and examination of seeds to explain effects of treatment are summarized. The influence of frequency, electric field intensity, seed moisture content, seed temperature, varietal variation and other factors are discussed, and aspects of practical application in the seed industry are considered. Experiments with RF treatment of seeds of sweetclover, other small-seeded legumes, vegetables, pine, and other woody plant and tree seeds are also summarized.

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