BEIJING — Chinese scientists have developed a new nanocomposite to control pre-harvest sprouting of wheat, which might decrease the wheat quality and reduce yields.
Pre-harvest sprouting refers to the germination of wheat within the grain head before harvest. It is considered a food security threat around the world.
It usually occurs from prolonged rainfall and high humidity after the grain has ripened and before it can be harvested. It results in lower yields due to decreased test weights and limits end-use applications for wheat due to reduced grain quality.
Previous efforts to minimize the risk of sprouting include breeding germination resistant varieties and using chemical sprays, which might cause pollution.
Scientists from Hefei Institutes of Physical Science under the Chinese Academy of Sciences developed a nanocomposite to inhibit pre-harvest sprouting.
The nanocomposite could make the surface of the wheat seeds rougher and form a hydrophobic surface, effectively preventing the wheat seeds from adsorbing water and breathing.
It is easy to apply and environmentally-friendly, with positive prospects for implementation.
This research provides a promising approach to improve the efficiency of wheat cultivation. The research was published in the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering.