Faculty of Mathematics, Physics
and Informatics
Comenius University in Bratislava

ADVANCED PLASMA TECHNOLOGY FOR ECOLOGICAL AGRICULTURE AND FOOD INDUSTRY

The main goal of project is study of low-temperature plasma effect on plant seeds, nuts and dried fruits in agriculture and food industry for sowing, storage and human and farm animals nutrition.


28. 02. 2018 10.20 hod.
By: Veronika Medvecká

Principal investigator: doc. RNDr. Anna Zahoranová, PhD.
Cooperating investigators: Teams from Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Informatics and Faculty of Natural Sciences of the Comenius University in Bratislava and Faculty of Chemical and Food Technology of the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava.
Project funding: Slovak Research and Development Agency, Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic, APVV-16-0216
Project duration: 2017-2021

Nowadays, low-temperature plasma (LTP) generated in air at atmospheric pressure is being successfully used in the in-line surface treatment of fabrics, glass, wood, synthetic polymeric but also natural organic materials. Due to the high reactivity of the plasma environment it is being used also in the biological decontamination and sterilization of surfaces and in the medical and agricultural application areas. Plasma effects on plant seeds lead to increase of germination, to the faster growth dynamics and vigour of the plant, as well as to reduction or killing of unwanted pathogenic microorganisms on the surface of seeds (fruits). The main aim of the proposed project is the design, construction and verification of prototype plasma device representing a promising new, alternative, economic and ecological advantageous technology of plant seeds treatment for sowing (cereals, pulses, and other) and stored agricultural commodities (mainly cereals, nuts, dried fruits) destined for human nutrition of population and farm animals. The use of low-temperature plasma for the reduction of unwanted seed microcenosis would present an environmentally friendly alternative or additive process to the traditional seed disinfection by chemical agents. Besides the parameter optimization of the plasma device based on the evaluation of LTP effect on seeds/plant fruits the emphasis will be put on clarification of the effect of various plasma constituents. The attention will be paid to the growth, physiologic, biochemical, molecular-biologic and structural aspects of plants after seed treatment as well as to the potential genotoxic, eventually antigenotoxic effect inside the cell thus the original results on the plasma effect will be obtained. Such a research implicates the creation of a strong multidisciplinary team comprising experts in plasma physics, applied physics, diagnostic methods as well as biochemistry, microbiology, genetics and molecular biology.

Project is focused on management of following parts: 

  1. The design, construction and testing of plasma device prototype based on various types of electrical discharges adapted for surface treatment of various seeds and dried fruits
  2. The diagnostics of low-temperature plasma using optical and electrical methods and the assessment of correlation between the plasma parameters and the optimal plasma effects on the surface of biological materials
  3. The verification of inactivation/devitalization effect of LTP on the microcenosis of seeds/fruits of main agricultural crops
  4. The clarification of the mechanism of LTP particle interaction with the biological material on a cellular and subcellular level
  5. The comparison of qualitative and quantitative changes in sensoric and nutritional properties of plant seeds/fruits prior to and after the application of LTP
  6. The study of LTP effects on growth, physiological, biochemical, molecular and anatomy-structural aspects of plants after seed plasma treatment
  7. The clarification of potential genotoxic/antigenotoxic effect of the low-temperature plasma on a molecular scale.