Title : Can cold atmospheric plasma be used for plant growth improvement and plant protection in sustainable plant production
Sustainable agriculture with low-input of chemicals and fertilizers is attracting recently more and more attention of producers and researchers in the EU. The main reason of such situation is The European Green Deal – the EU’s latest growth strategy concerning environmental degrada-tion and climate change. One of its main components is The Farm to Fork Strategy including especially reduction of pesticides and mineral fertilizers application and also support the development of organic farming. At the same time the food demand is rising. These ambitious challenges need an extensive research, development and innovations. Therefore, a new nonchemical techniques of improving plant growth and resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses must be explored for their potential in this field. One of the most promising is the use of non-thermal plasma for such purposes. As this physical factor is a very complex mixture of ions, atoms, electrons, radicals, molecules, its effect on plants and pathogens is also very complex. Cold Atmospheric Plasma (CAP) is most often generated in air at atmospheric pressure, e.g. corona discharge, dielectric barrier discharge. The high chemical activity of the plasma ensures its very effective action against microorganisms. Thanks to its numerous advantages, cold plasma is more and more commonly applied to food products, biological material and used in medicine. In agriculture, it is used especially for disinfection of seeds, plants, surfaces and tools, boosting seed germination and seedling growth, soil remediation and the production of nitrogen fertilizers. Literature data show that plasma inhibits the growth of many harmful microorganisms, e.g. Aspergillus, Penicillium, Bacillus genera. It is also widely reported in the literature to stimulate seeds and seedlings of various plant species, e.g. wheat, oats, peas, soybeans, herbs. The above-mentioned properties of cold plasma are also confirmed by our own research with the use of patented (P.428969) prototype of DBD plasma generator.