Innovative Certified Organic Seed Technology Now Available for Organic Growers

For growers producing organic baby leaf crops, the spread of bacterial diseases can be rapid with devastating results. Additionally, harvesting clean, organic, pathogen-free seed is another challenge for both seed producers and growers. Short of discarding the seed or accepting a decline in harvest quality, organic growers have few viable options to recover their crop once it is infected with bacterial diseases.

One bacterial disease that has a significant impact on the production of baby leaf vegetable crops is Pseudomonas syringae pv. aptata. This bacterium is commonly called bacterial leaf spot, as it is easily recognized by tan to brown circular lesions on the green foliage. The bacterial inoculums spread easily throughout the field by the wind, water, or other modes. In short, production crops where harvest occurs within 30 days after planting, a rapid spread of bacterial leaf spot can result in a complete loss of productive plants. There is some speculation that baby leaf greens infected with bacterial leaf spot may have an impact on the product’s shelf life after it is packaged for retail sales.

To our knowledge, there are no organic chemical controls for farmers that prevent the spread of bacterial diseases. The best preventive measure is to stop or reduce the amount of bacterial inoculums by planting clean, bacterial-free seeds. As consumer demand for organic vegetables continues to grow, growers are experiencing disease pressure and phytosanitary regulations that have an impact on production. Seed technology companies are developing innovative seed treatments and processes that help today’s organic growers maximize their potential, starting with the seeds they plant.

Seed disinfection is one of the many available technologies that is used to treat vegetable seeds infected with pathogens such as Pseudomonas. Seed disinfection is a process that results in significant reduction in Pseudomonas syringae pv. aptata (bacterial leaf spot) from Swiss chard and beet seeds used for baby leaf production, and Pseudomonas syringae pv. coriandricola from coriander seeds. It may also help reduce the transfer of pathogenic organisms onto other crops and the field.

According to a seed technology research and development specialist, “Harvesting clean, pathogen-free seed has always been a challenge for organic seed producers and growers. And without effective treatment to prevent the spread of diseases, an infection of bacterial leaf spot (Pseudomonas spp.) can cause complete crop failure in organic baby leaf crops. Seed disinfection is an innovative solution developed to solve a real problem for today’s organic growers.”

In addition to seed disinfection processes, a wide range of other certified organic seed treatments such as pelleting, priming, and film coatings are now available for many vegetable species. Not only do today’s seed technologies help reduce the transfer of seed-borne diseases, seed pellets allow for precision planting, while seed priming helps speed emergence and is known to improve uniformity and yield. Starting with the seed, technology is now available to help growers maximize their potential prior to planting.

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This article was written by Stacy Hasegawa.

Stacy Hasegawa is the Sales & Marketing Coordinator for Germains Seed Technology based in Gilroy, California. For more information about certified organic seed technology, visit http://germains.com or email shasegawa@germains.com.

Media Contact Information: Stacy Hasegawa
Sales & Marketing Coordinator
Germains Seed Technology
408.848.8120 x 33
shasegawa@germains.com

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