ThermoSeed’s Steam Cleaning could be the Future of Crop Health 

Pasteurising seeds in hot steam could be the farmer’s answer to controlling harmful fungi, bacteria, and insects without the use of environmentally damaging chemicals.

Clean seed is a global issue; seed-borne diseases are a serious threat to farmers and world food supply. But in most cases, seeds are treated with chemicals that can harm the environment and biodiversity, and threaten grain and vegetable harvests and thereby farmers’ livelihoods.

Plant protection chemicals may be designed to kill specific pests, but they can also affect any other life form that comes in contact with them. The chemicals can enter the food chain, leading to long-term detrimental effects. Many pesticides are dangerous to life in waterways due to agricultural runoff. Even in certified organic farming, natural pesticides, which are widely used, can inadvertently cause damage to benign insect life and fungal spores, which affects the entire biodiversity of the soil.

About a third of the world’s soil has already been degraded by chemical-heavy agricultural interventions, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). ThermoSeed claims to offer an economically competitive, environmentally friendly alternative which, if spread to new markets throughout the world, could substantially increase food supply and at the same time decrease the use of methods hazardous to humans and nature.

ThermoSeed pasteurizes the seed with hot humid air, and could increase harvests of grain and legumes worldwide by using this unique hot steam method of processing to eliminate toxic microorganisms such as fungi, bacteria, and harmful insects.

photo by ThermoSeed

The method already dominates the seed market in Scandinavia where most cereals are treated. ThermoSeed says that field trials there have shown an increase in harvest around 5-10 percent. In Sweden, ThermoSeed-treated seeds already have a market share of 40 percent and in Norway, 60 percent. ThermoSeed’s equipment for treating seed is now sold in four other European countries and in the US. Within the next 10 years, the company believes it will have established ThermoSeed around the world. In developing countries, the increase in harvests is even more important, according to the company; rice trials in Mali have indicated an increase in harvests by 27 percent.

Complying with the EU directive of integrated pest management, ThermoSeed sets a standard in providing a good working environment for workers in seed plants and farms with no exposure to chemicals, increasing food safety, and limiting waste by ensuring unused seed can be used direct for human consumption and for feeding farm animals.

With over 20 years of contribution to the development of more sustainable food production methods, the Swedish company is already treating rice against nematodes in the US and Italy, and is officially approved in Japan and Mali. It believes that expansion into new markets would have a massive impact in climate, environment, and health.

Learn more about ThermoSeed.


Nominate yourself or someone else, it takes three minutes and could change the world!