Seeds are central to the sustainability of the agri-food system. Indeed, seeds are at the very beginning of the food chain, and thus constitute its base and foundation. Ensuring high seed sanitary quality is crucial in the international trade market to prevent disease emergence and secure food production. Currently, crop health management depends on a range of phytosanitary products applied to vegetative parts and seeds, which have potential negative impacts on food safety, environment and biodiversity.
The SUCSEED project is founded on the necessity to identify and develop novel solutions adapted to seed protection using natural and environmentally-friendly alternatives to pesticides. This project intends to establish the seed as a central player in next-generation crop health management in favor of a more sustainable agriculture. It focuses on two major phytosanitary problems: seed-transmitted pathogens and damping-off of four different crop species (i.e. wheat, tomato, common bean and rapeseed) and their most commonly associated pathogens.
To identify these alternative solutions, SUCSEED proposes to investigate three cutting-edge research directions: (i) enhancing seed defenses, (ii) engineering seed microbiota and (iii) unraveling the local molecular environment of germinating seeds, to design bio-innovative seed treatments. These novel solutions will then be formulated to be efficiently and durably integrated into advanced seed technology approaches fulfilling seed market needs and agricultural practices. Finally, the most promising solutions will be deployed on a broad range of genotypes and environmental conditions to validate their efficiency/marketability. These scientific and technical developments will be accompanied by research in human and social sciences including regulatory, economic and social research in order to anticipate the needs or obstacles to the development of these products, their appropriation by seed industry actors and the receptivity of society and politics to these new solutions.