Ecophyto Maturation - Ecophyto Maturation

Intelligent Modified Atmosphere Seed Conservation System – SISAM

Intelligent Seed Conservation System under Modified Atmosphere

LAAS and PANAM are developing a modified atmosphere storage system for seed protection and monitoring. The solution is connected and intelligent thanks to real-time monitoring. It enables 100% natural preservation and is presented in 4 innovative technological bricks:<br /><br />- Reusable, eco-responsible big-bags<br />- Automated big-bag filling machine<br />- On-board measurement and communication system<br />- Inventory tracking and data analysis platform.

Challenges and objectives

Seed conservation is a key issue. <br />Like all agricultural products, seeds are subject to various forms of degradation: insect attack, mold, bacteriological development, loss of germination. <br /><br />Current solutions are not viable: <br />? storage insecticides (insect elimination, curative solution), <br />? phosphine fumigation of infested batches (elimination of insects toxic to the operator, curative solution), <br />? cold storage (inhibits insect development, slows germination loss, preventive solution). This solution is costly in terms of infrastructure and energy consumption, <br />? Thermal freezing/heating treatment (elimination of insects, curative solution). This technique damages germination capacity. <br /><br />None of these solutions is truly satisfactory, and today in France a seed production plant throws away between 5 and 10% of its stock every year (data gathered during field exchanges).<br /><br />PANAM has developed technological expertise in conservation under modified atmosphere. According to INRAE research, this type of conservation makes it possible to : <br /><br />? totally eliminate insects, eggs and larvae, and prevent re-infestation. <br />? extend product shelf-life by preventing degradation; <br />? strongly inhibit bacteriological development; <br />? stabilize germination rates.<br /><br />However, even if the mechanisms and benefits of preservation are well known, it has to be said that this solution is still not widely used in the agricultural world, as few solutions exist for placing very large volumes of raw materials under AM. In agriculture, the average storage size can range from several tonnes to several thousand tonnes in silos.

**On-board measurement system

The aim of this lot is to manufacture a pre-industrial series of the multi-sensor electronic system, based on an initial mock-up already tested in the laboratory. The aim is to demonstrate an advanced prototype of the system in its target operating environment and in different storage and handling configurations. Prototypes will be multiplied to test the network's scalability and the ability of the data processing and analysis system to correctly perform the monitoring management tasks for each big bag without degrading detection performance.

**Platform & data

The first part consists in developing the whole data collection, storage, processing and analysis part on a computing server adapted to the SISAM application. This part will be based on the initial developments implemented in the previous mock-up phase. The second part aims to develop the user interface for tracking seed stocks and to define the database architecture.

**Integration test at the seed station

The aim is to deploy the integrated solution at at least two volunteer seed stations in France, covering around 100 tonnes of seed.

More than 300 articles have been collected in Zotero to understand the technologies used in the storage of agricultural products. A synthesis article is currently being evaluated.

Stakeholder needs were identified in the form of «user stories«.

Model Based System Engineering (MBSE) modeling was carried out in Capella using the Arcadia method. This is a visual representation (model) of the system to be developed.

A comparison of telecommunication methods was carried out among those considered as «neighbor area« or «worldwide area network«. Two protocols were selected: SigFox and LoRaWAN.

The sensors used are a relative humidity sensor, a temperature sensor, a pressure sensor, a CO2 sensor and a three-axis accelerometer. For the humidity, temperature and pressure sensors, consumption and price were the main criteria. For the CO2 sensor, further research was required.

The choice of communication then led to the selection of radio and microcontroller modules.

An initial prototype was created for integrated testing.

An Android application was developed for BLE communication with the *device*. The site displaying the dashboard was taken over to also display the shocks sustained.


Reduce seed losses in storage (in France, around 10% of stocks are lost every year, and this figure is exploding in the United States).

Reduce the cost per ton of storage under AM by massifying the container and automating packaging to make it more accessible. To date, the cost of storage is €25/t (source: Arvalis).

Instrumenting storage to collect data and deliver more value to the user through predictive models of batch evolution. The ultimate goal is to better preserve seeds and make their use more efficient.

Simplify quality monitoring of seed stocks, and limit or even replace the need for sampling and analysis by real-time monitoring of seed physico-chemical parameters.


Enable the rapid development of organic farming for all (storage under AM is particularly useful for organic farming, since phytosanitary products are banned).

Implement a new international standard for seed storage and transport, which would boost confidence between buyers/sellers and limit administrative procedures.

Reduce the risk of developing diseases linked to the use of phytosanitary products.


Drastically reduce the use of phytosanitary products.

Drastically reduce the need for energy-intensive thermal storage treatments (cold rooms, deep-freezing, ventilation, etc.). Giving carbon dioxide a direct use: conservation under AM gives CO2 an immediate use as a highly efficient conservation gas.

Participation, présentation à la conférence IOBC WPRS à Barcelone en 2022. L. Labrot-Rhodes, E. Campo, P. Poujaud. Instrumentation for monitoring shocks suffered by a big-bag filled with seeds. 13th Meeting of the IOBC/WPRS on the Working Group Integrated Protection of Stored Products, 3-6 October 2022, Barcelona, Spain, 2022, 159, 116-120

Soumission revue Heliyon 2022 : L. Labrot-Rhodes, E. Campo, P. Poujaud. Review of preservation techniques for stored grains and technologies for modified atmosphere monitoring

The LAAS laboratory and the PANAM company are combining their skills to continue the development of an integrated Modified Atmosphere (MA) storage system for seed protection and predictive monitoring. This solution, targeting seed stations, will be connected and intelligent thanks to real-time monitoring of the stored seed. It will be declined in a standard agricultural format (big-bag type) and will allow a 100% natural conservation.

Seeds are subjected to various degradations (insects, moulds, germination losses etc), the current solutions are not adequate (insecticides, fumigation, cold storage, heat treatments) and less and less applicable. Today in France a seed production plant throws away each year between 5 and 10% of its stocks (field data).

PANAM has developed a technological expertise in conservation under Modified Atmosphere. According to the work of INRA, this type of conservation allows :
? to totally eliminate insects, eggs and larvae and to prevent reinfestation.
? extend the shelf life of the product by preventing its degradation;
? to strongly inhibit bacteriological development;
? to stabilize the germination rate.

The solution targeted by the SISAM project will provide total protection to the seeds thanks to the modified atmosphere. Conditioning will be automated and large-scale monitoring made possible by remote measurement. Finally, the analysis of storage data will allow predictive monitoring of batches. The solution will be used to protect all types of seeds.

The solution targets seed stations located in France: already nearly 1.5 million tons are concerned.
In the long term, the solution is expected to be adopted massively for seed lot storage and monitoring.

At this stage, the solution has been tested in laboratory (TRL4). The SISAM project will allow to scale up (operational test in seed stations) to reach TRL7. PANAM is already in discussion with several interested companies.

The targeted solution, adopted on a large scale by seed companies, would allow a complete paradigm shift: total elimination of phyto products from seed storage, simplification of stock monitoring, predictive monitoring, new possible applications (tokenization of stocks, new types of insurance contracts, etc), introduction of a new international standard for storage, development of bio, etc.

The main hurdle is financial: the overall cost of the solution in relation to the ton stored must be competitive in comparison with the existing one (through the control of production costs and new ways of creating value).

PANAM is a French SME of 30 people created in 1998 and located north of Toulouse. The historical activity is the selection, production and marketing of field seeds. Since 2016, PANAM has been a pioneer in modified atmosphere storage with the ambition to become the world's leading supplier of this technology. A spin-off is created: NOX STORAGE.

The LAAS laboratory, located in Toulouse, is an own unit of the CNRS. Within it, the S4M (Smart Sensing and SystemS Monitoring) team has a recognized experience in monitoring, in particular of the health of systems through embedded instrumentation.

The LAAS and PANAM have been collaborating since May 2019 (first application for the ECOPHYTO 2019 project). Subsequently, a Research Collaboration Contract allowed the start of work to build a prototype of an embedded measurement system (temperature, humidity, CO2, pressure). A European innovation check of 15000€ was obtained (S3FOOD device). Last milestone to date, a CIFRE thesis is in the process of being started.

The SISAM project will allow to continue the fruitful collaboration between the two entities.

Translated with (free version)

Project coordination


The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


LAAS-CNRS Laboratoire d'analyse et d'architecture des systèmes

Help of the ANR 327,822 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2021 - 36 Months

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