Coconut trees grow slowly and are difficult to clone. Scientists at KU Leuven and Alliance have grown saplings faster and conserved the genetic resources of coconut in the long run. This helps maintain the biodiversity of the coconut tree and meet the growing demand for coconuts and derivatives.
NS coconut Is the sixth most cultivated fruit on the planet and its demand continues to grow. In recent years, consumer demand for coconut oil has increased. Coconut water is also used as a natural alternative to sweet soft drinks.However, the coconut tree that grows mainly in Coastal area Around the equator, we face many challenges, including deadly yellowing, climate change, rising sea levels, and outdated plantations. That’s why KU Ruben and researchers at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture and CIAT have developed ways to increase coconut. wood Save to gene banks faster and more efficiently.
“No one thought we could do it.”
Bad Panis and the Alliance and PhD student Hannes Wilms of the Institute for Tropical Crop Improvement (KU Ruben) drew inspiration for this study from another fruit variety, banana.From his work Banana plant, Panis is specific Plant hormones Coconut trees can also be successful. “Coconut plants do not form side shoots. They need to combine all their energies into one shoot and grow as fast and as high as possible, which makes it very difficult to clone and store. Become. plant“Panis said.
For their study, scientists first extracted coconut tree embryos from coconut. They then applied phytohormones to the meristems (or growth points) contained in the embryo. In this way, they succeeded in forming the embryo into several side shoots, not just one shoot. They in turn split these shoot clusters so that new side shoots could also grow on them.Their findings were published on September 15th Science report..
“No one thought we could do that, but we worked hard with determination,” Panis said. “There are other ways to propagate coconut trees, but I’m sure this is the first time- and cost-efficient way to propagate.” Sharing the exact same genetic profile of the mother plant, Thousands of new specimens of a single coconut plant are available. This opens up great potential for coconut plantations around the world.
Challenge to coconut
First and foremost, the team wants to protect the genetic diversity of coconut trees as efficiently as possible. Due to the specific characteristics of each variety, it is very important to preserve as many coconut plant varieties as possible. Some are resistant to certain diseases or have a better oil composition, while others are more resistant to heat, drought, or storms.
“Current, Coconut tree It is kept as a tree in the field collection. However, some of these collections are under threat of lethal yellowing, “says Hannes Wilms, co-author of KU Ruben. Temperature of -196 ° C. “
“This is important for the future. If a new disease affects coconut production, there may be different gene banks that are resistant to the disease and can be planted in the affected area.” Said Panis.
Small farmer, reasonable price
For today’s coconut production, this technology is coming at the right time. “There is a great demand for coconuts. Existing plantations are old and need to be reforested in the short term,” Panis said. “Therefore, our technology meets the great demand for healthy plant materials.”
Researcher has just submitted Patent application.. What is needed now is additional funding to protect patents and further refine the technology. In the process, researchers do not lose sight of small producers. “Because coconut production is often in the hands of smallholders, the patent license includes special provisions. Anyone who applies our technology, smallholders can afford plant materials at a reasonable price. It needs to be available for purchase at, “Panis said.
Hannes Wilms et al, Development of First Axillary In Vitro Shoot Proliferation Protocol for Coconut Palm, Science report (2021). DOI: 10.1038 / s41598-021-97718-1
Quote: Coconut Tree Cloning Breakthrough, Propagation and Preservation Obtained from https://phys.org/news/2021-09-coconut-tree-cloning-breakthrough-propagation.html on September 15, 2021 Useful (September 15, 2021)
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Breakthroughs in coconut tree cloning help breed and preserve
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