Journal of Power and Energy Engineering, 2014, 2, 13-18
Published Online April 2014 in SciRes.
How to cite this paper: Gandhare, W.Z . and Patwardhan, M.S. (2014) A New Approach of Electric Field Adoption for
Germination Improvement. Journal of Power and Energy Engineering, 2, 13-18.
A New Approach of Electric Field Adoption
for Germination Improvement
Waman Ziblaji Gandhare1, Mamta Samir Patwardhan2
1Government College of Engineering, Amravati, Maharashtra state, India
2Department of FSRE, Dr. A. S. College of Agricultural Engineering, MPKV, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra state,
Received December 2013
Enhancement of tomato seed germination is one of the most important factors for developing a
supply chain of increased demand. Tomato is one of the important cash crops in the world. To ful-
fill increased requirement, electric field adoption is the best alternative. The study was underta-
ken at MPKV, Rahuri for improvement in tomato seed germination. Three different approaches
were utilized as electrostatic field, microwave and corona discharge method to treat tomato seeds.
The comparative analysis revealed that adoption of electrostatic field application was simple as
well as powerful method with significantly positive results. In electrostatic field, the optimal do-
sage was 2 kV/mm for 20 second interval to improve germination, root shoot length and seed vi-
Electrostatic Field; Microwave Field; Corona Discharge Treatment; Germinatio n
1. Introduction
Experimental study of the effects of electricity on plant growth began in 1746. Early researchers discovered the
application of electricity in agriculture for different purposes such as for seed treatment, seedling growth, plant
growth, insect control and so on. Although their research aims were good, their apparatus, experimental designs
and methods, process, dosage, amplitude of voltage, and the treatment time were not scientific so that they often
got contradictory results [1].
The application of electricity, magnetism, monochrome light and sound can stimulate the growth of plants to
a great extent. The energies are applied to the seeds, plants, soil or the water and nutrients. This technology
termed as electro-culture, can protect plants from diseases, insects and frost. These methods can also reduce the
requirements for fertilizer or pesticides [2].
It is well known that currents of electricity exist in the atmosphere. Clouds are charged and discharged. There
is constant change of electricity from earth to air and from air to earth. The earth is the reservoir for all electrici-
ty. The electricity is the potent factor in the economy of nature and has more to do with the growth and devel-
opments of plants. Plant food is carried throughout the plant by means of the flow of sap, these currents circu-
W. Z. Gandhare, M. S. Patwardhan
lates through all rootlets and centre as it were, in the stalk, carrying their tiny burdens of various elements and
depositing them in the proper places. This phenomenon of sap circulation can be doubled due to electricity [3].
The several approaches of electricity were reviewed [4]. Morar [5] experimented with electrostatic field
ranging 2 to 6 kV/cm with exposure time of 1 to 30 sec. for bean seeds. Huang [6] treated cucumber seeds with
field strength of 1 kV to 7 kV/cm. Efe [7] conducted experiments with corona shocking instrument for cotton
seeds. Pozeliene [8] processed rapeseeds with corona discharge field in the conveyer type electric separator.
Zhou [9] designed new atmospheric plasma device, to explore approximate voltage of plasma treatment for to-
mato seeds. Aladjadjiyan [10] treated lentil seeds by using microwave of 2 - 45 GHz. frequency. More [11] uti-
lized microwaves for sorghum.
Out of these all possibilities, it was felt that electrostatic field, microwave field and corona discharge methods
were prominent. Hence a comparative study was undertaken to verify the effects of high voltage application for
tomato seed treatment. Based on these pretreatments of seed before sowing, the study was planned.
2. Experimental Procedure
As described above, three methodologies were adopted for tomato seed treatment. Seeds of tomato cv. Dhansh-
ree developed by MPKV, Rahuri were used for trials. Germination tests were conducted as per ISTA standards.
2.1. Electrostatic Field Treatment
The test cell consisted of two horizontal electrodes, connected to a fully adjustable ac high voltage supply of 0 to
5 kV, 50 Hz. The disks were covered with thin insulating films to avoid contact between the seeds and elec-
trodes. Several laboratory tests were conducted to determine high-intensity electric field exposure causes any
change in germination. The voltage gradient of 1 kV, 2 kV, 3 kV/mm with time duration of 10, 20, 30 seconds
were finalized.
2.2. Microwave Energy Treatment
The influence of microwave irradiation on Tomato seeds has been investigated. A magnetron with frequency of
radiation 2.45 GHz and maximum output power 900 w according to supplier data has been used as microwave
source. Several laboratory tests were carried out and power levels as well as duration of irradiations were fixed
as 90%, 70%, 60% of power and 10, 20, 30 seconds for time.
2.3. Corona Discharge Method
Plasma has been used for seed mutation. Atmospheric plasma discharge equipment was used. It had two parallel
high voltage electrodes. Seeds were put under atmospheric pressure plasma, the plasma would bring a mass
electron, ion and ozone, and the mass electrons were faster. The ozone was the main component to react on to-
mato seed for mutation. Various trials were carried out and operating voltage levels as 2 kV, 4 kV and 6 kV
were fixed with time interval 15, 10, 5 second at high frequency of 15 kHz.
For these all methods, germination tests were carried out. For each method nine variable combinations of vol-
tage and time were considered. One untreated seed lot was used as control. Each seed lot was of 50 seeds. Three
replications were utilized for statistical analysis. Germination trials were carried out in seed germinator where
temperature and humidity was maintained at 25˚C at 80% relative humidity. Similarly same seeds were also sown
in the plugs filled with soil having sufficient moisture well suited as open field conditions. Germination percen-
tage was calculated as per standards. Additionally, root shoot length and seed vigor study was also completed.
3. Results and Discussion
After seeds were treated, germination trials were started immediately. The germination percentage were counted
as first day count and final count on fourth and fourteenth day as per ISTA norms. Tables 1-3 show the changes
in seed germination percentage due to adoption of different methods of electric field exposure.
3.1. Germination Improvement Based on Electrostatic Field Exposure
As per standards, the perti dishes were used for each lot with three replications. The electrostatic field exposure
W. Z. Gandhare, M. S. Patwardhan
Table 1. Results of germination improvement due to electrostatic field application.
Treatment Germination (%)
R1 R2 R3
V1T1 1 kV, 10 Sec 98 100 98
V1T2 1 kV, 20 Sec 98 98 100
V1T3 1 kV, 30 Sec 98 98 98
V2T1 2 kV, 10 Sec 100 98 98
V2T2 2 kV, 20 Sec 100 100 100
V2T3 2 kV, 30 Sec 100 98 98
V3T1 3 kV, 10 Sec 98 98 98
V3T2 3 kV, 20 Sec 98 100 98
V3T3 3 kV, 30 Sec 100 100 99
Control 92 92 92
Table 2. Results of germination improvement due to microwave field application.
Treatment Germination (%)
R1 R2 R3
P1T1 90%,10 sec. 100 98 98
P1T2 90%, 20 sec. 100 100 98
P1T3 90%, 30 sec. 100 98 98
P2T1 70%, 10 sec. 98 98 98
P2T2 70%, 20 sec. 100 100 99
P2T3 70%, 30 sec. 98 98 98
P3T1 60%, 10 sec. 96 98 98
P3T2 60%, 20 sec. 98 98 98
P3T3 60%, 30 sec. 98 94 98
Control 92 92 92
Table 3. Results of germination improvement due to corona field application.
Treatment Germination (%)
R1 R2 R3
V1f1 2 kV, 15 Sec 100 100 98
V1f2 2 kV, 10 Sec 98 100 98
V1f3 2 kV, 5 Sec 98 98 96
V2f1 4 kV, 15 Sec 96 96 94
V2f2 4 kV, 10 Sec 100 100 100
V2f3 4 kV, 5 Sec 96 96 96
V3f1 6 kV, 15 Sec 96 96 96
V3f2 6 kV, 10 Sec 96 98 96
V3f3 6 kV, 5 Sec 96 98 94
Control 92 92 92
W. Z. Gandhare, M. S. Patwardhan
apparatus was designed and developed for demonstration purpose. With reference to so many trials, treatment
parameters were finalized. On fourteenth day, germination count was noted. Table 1 revealed that the treatment
V2T2 was significantly good. Basically all treated seeds showed better results.
3.2. Germination Improvement based on Microwave Field Exposure
Similar to electrostatic field exposure, another set up was arranged for microwave field treatment. For further
large scale set up, different unit of industrial microwave set up was proposed for installation in process of seed
treatment unit. The results were encouraging in comparison with untreated one. Table 2 recommended P2T2
treatment of 70% power level with 20 second time of application for enhancement.
3.3. Germination Improvement based on Corona Discharge Field Exposure
Alternative method of corona discharge field exposure was also tested for seed treatment before sowing in petri
dishes. Based on prior trials, working high voltage level and speed based time setting combination were fina-
lized. Table 3 represented results confirmed that there was positive effect on corona discharge field on seed
germination process. The moderate voltage and speed was the best option for optimum results.
The development of root shoot for electrically treated tomato seeds was faster as in Figures 1-3.
This germination process was related to basic mechanism which explains stimulating effects of electric field
exposure. Ozone generation by partial discharges between seeds and the activation of OH radicals under the ac-
tion of the high-intensity electric field was assumed to be responsible for the intensification of the biological
processes. The processes had been reported to be time dependent. The above described seed exposure processes
were employed at three different high voltage levels. Laboratory tests showed that the germination energy of the
treated seed samples increased as compared to untreated ones (Figure 1) for electrostatic field exposure.
3.4. Some Common
Quotation marks are used, instead of a bold or italic
Figure 1. Graphical presentation for effect of elec-
trostatic field on root shoot length.
Figure 2. Graphical presentation for effect of micro-
wave field on root shoot length.
W. Z. Gandhare, M. S. Patwardhan
Figure 3. Graphical presentation for effect of corona
field on root shoot length.
Ozone generation by partial discharges between seeds seems to be the main effective parameter to enhance
the growth. Thus with adoption of electric field for seed treatment, the germination and seed vigor can be im-
proved. Ultimately it results in maximum yield. The food production may be increased. As per review [3], this
technique results in reduced fertilizer and pesticide requirement that will be the added advantage.
Comparative study reflects that the method of electrostatic field exposure was the best. It was found easy for
adoption too. A simple circuit incorporated in this treatment may give advantage of cost effectiveness for com-
mercial approach.
This will help rural development and create tremendous wealth in these areas. But still technology needs to go
a long way in the process of research and development so that it can be made available at economical rates and
the feasibility can be increased.
4. Conclusions
The application of electrostatic field, microwave irradiation and corona discharge methods had a prominent
impact on seed germination.
The adoption of electrostatic field is most superior method for seed enhancement. Due to simplicity, this
technique is suitable for commercialization.
The voltage gradient of 2 kV/mm, 20-second interval is the optimal value for best results.
Better results are observed for older seed lots for improving germination count and seed vigor.
In Indian scenario, there is a need to apply these methods to improve growth, yield and minimize the ferti-
lizer/pesticides requirements.
The authors would like to thank Dr. R. D. Bansod, Head, Department of FSRE and Dr. P.A. Turbatmath, Asso-
ciate Dean, Dr. A. S. CAE, MPKV, Rahuri for their valuable suggestions and inspiration. The authors acknowl-
edge with thanks the fruitful discussions with Dr. R.S. Patil, Director of Research, MPKV, Rahuri.
[1] Gui, Z.-B., Piras, A., Qiao, L.-M., Gui, K. and Wang, B. (2013) Improving Germination of Seeds Soaked GA3 by
Electrostatic Field Treatment. International Journal of Recent Technology and Engineering, 2, 133-136.
[2] Nelson, R.A. (2011) Electro-Culture.
[3] Bailey, L.H. (2011) Cyclopedia of American Agriculture: Vol. II—Crops, 32-34.
[4] Patwardhan, M.S. and Gandhare, W.Z. (2013) Effect of Electricity on Seed Germination. IEEMA Journal, 5, 88-92.
[5] Morar, R., Munteanu, R., Simion, E, Munteanu, I. and Dascalescu, L. (1999) Electrostatic Treatment of Bean Seeds.
IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications, Vol. 35, 208-212.
[6] Huang, R., Sukprakarn, S., Phavaphutanon, L., Juntakool, S. and Chaikul, C. (2006) Changes in Antioxidant Enzyme
Activity, Lipid Perooxidation and Seedling Growth of Cucumber Seed Induced by Hydro Priming and Electric Field
Treatments. Kasetsart Journal (Nature Science), 40, 825-834.
W. Z. Gandhare, M. S. Patwardhan
[7] Efe, L., Mustalayev, S.A. and Killi P. (2004) Stimulative Effect of High Voltage Electrical Current on Earliness Yield
and Fiber Quality of Cotton. Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 7, 495-502.
[8] Pozeliene, A. and Lyn iki ene , S. (2009) The Treatment of Rape Seeds with the Help of Electrical Field. Agronomy Re-
search, 7, 39-46.
[9] Zhou, Z., Huang, Y., Yang, S. and Chen, W. (2011) Introduction of a New Atmospheric Pressure Plasma Device and
Application on Tomato Seeds. Agricultural Sciences, 2, 23-27.
[10] Aladjadjiyan, A. (2010) Effect of Microwave Irradiation on Seeds of Lentils. Romanian Journal of Biophysics, 20,
[11] More, H.G., Magan, N. and Stenning, B. C. (1992) Effect of Microwave Heating on Sorghum & Mycoflora of Sorghum
grain. Journal of Stored Product Research, 28, 251-256.