Polymer seed-coatings have been largely tested as an alternative method for preventing diseases and have the potential to be used to control undesirable germination and thereby increasing seed storage. Amongst these, the protein-based coatings can be applied with advantage of forming stable biodegradable and hydrophobic films. Due to their chemical structure, protein dressings act as efficient barriers for water uptake, even when seeds are unavoidable exposed to a moist environment. In this work, the effect of hydrophobic dressings was tested on the germination rate of sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.) and broccolis (Brassica oleraceae var italic L.) seeds under laboratorial condition. Zein, natural maize (Zea mays L.) proteins extracted from gluten meal, was used as precursor polymers to form the coatings. Seeds were dressed by direct submersion into a zein/ethanol formulation of zein concentration of 3.0 g L-1, followed by natural air drying. The resultant coating has elevated the hydrophobic feature due to the high content amino acids present in the structure of the zein. For both types of seeds an overall delay in sprouting and germination was observed, with a more accentuated reduction on sugar beet germination percentage after eleven days of measurements. The effect on germination rates is understood as the efficiency of the zein coating to form a physical barrier preventing water permeation into the seeds.
seed dressing; undesirable germination control; protein coating; seed storage