Research Project: ‘On-farm’ seed priming: an ecological & sustainable disease management strategy


There is an urgent need to make food production more sustainable both in economic and environmental terms. Central to this is the need to reduce our reliance on pesticides, while maintaining high levels of crop production and health. This can only be achieved through integrated and sustainable pest and disease management. This project directly addresses this need by investigating the role of seed priming on the induction of plant disease resistance.

‘On-farm’ seed priming is a low cost, simple and effective technology whereby seeds are anaerobically soaked in water for several hours prior to sowing. This speeds up germination, seedling emergence and improves seedling establishment & vigour (and ultimately yield) in a range of crops. Information emerging from around the world suggests that anaerobic ‘on-farm’ seed priming confers a wide range of benefits to crop plants, e.g. increased micronutrient uptake, tolerance to drought and increased levels of resistance to diseases. The mechanistic and physiological basis behind this resistance however, has never before been studied and needs critical evaluation in a sustainable agricultural context.

Further, in addition to the perceived benefits of ‘on-farm’ seed priming to European agricultural systems, this technology is perfectly placed to be adapted to local situations in developing countries, and could be effectively disseminated and adopted by resource-poor farmers.

The overall objective of this project is to focus on the mechanistic and physiological basis of increased disease resistance in crop plants following ‘on-farm’ seed priming, as part of an integrated and sustainable management strategy.


Twitter: @javi_carrillo1

Posters & publications

Sustainable intensification conference poster (PowerPoint: Carrillo_2017)