Seed coating: Science or Marketing Spin?

Pedrini S, Merritt DJ, Stevens J, Dixon K (2017) Seed Coating: Science or Marketing Spin? Trends Plant Sci 22:106–116. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2016.11.002

Seed coating is the practice of covering seeds with external materials to improve handling, protection, and, to a lesser extent, germination enhancement and plant establishment. With an annual value exceeding US$1 billion dollars, this technology is mostly the preserve of the private research sector, with few links to the scientific community. Here, we analyse the science and industry of seed coating and its contribution to seed establishment and plant performance. We posit that a closer collaboration between academia and industry is critical to realising the potential of seed coating both as a tool for enhancing plant establishment in the face of the challenges posed to agricultural systems and to propel the multibillion-dollar global push for ecological restoration of degraded ecosystems.