Public Release: 

Refrigerator us warm?

RUDN University

A discovery made at RUDN University (Peoples' friendship university of Russia) allows to substantially increase the production of high quality planting material of horticultural crops. The discovery sounds very simple and suggests artificial winter in the fridge for glass cultures thus correcting certain laws of nature, which slow down the growth of these plants. It looks like scientists have found a way to start cloning fruit and berry plants.

On the roof of the building there is a green house where you can see young plants like strawberries and cherries. The cloning method has been known for half a century and is far more productive than traditional graftage since a graft makes one plant, while a bud gives dozens of thousands of identical plants through cloning.

"The central part of the bud is planted in luminaria in a sterile box, a month later making a lump of buds and sprouts that are cut into fragments and planted in new tubes again giving new buds about 1-2 cm big,- said Sergey Kornatsky. "The buds then grow roots and can be planted in soil". But the trouble is that after being planted into soil the plants stop growing because they are small and weak and weed plants destroy them.

Sergey Karnatsky has been trying to solve this problem. 80% of growth is mid-May - June, the remaining 20% is July - August. Nature itself makes sure that plants have enough time to grow during the warm period always finding one and a half months for growth. Genetic memory works in artificially grown plants as well. They grow one and a half months and stop. The scientist came to a conclusion that to continue growing the plants should go through a cold period. In the southern regions sometimes when the temperature reaches +7 in winter, plants start growing. Experiments proved the hypothesis. "I put these plants in a refrigerator for 2-2,5 months, - says Kornatsky. - After this I plant them again and they start growing. During one year I put them in the fridge three times. This approach (1,5 months growth and 2,5 months rest) allows to get 80-90 cm tall plants starting from just 2 - 3 cm".

The technology has been tested on cherries and plants as well as for example ashberry. The process is not as difficult as it might seem. It doesn't require a lot of space or transportation. Kornatsky's 11-cubic-meter fridge accommodates all the plants from a 200 sq.m green house.

There is another important issue - plant health. Plants are sometimes sick, they are attacked by viruses and this causes harvest 2-3 times less than usual, which harms plant production. Getting rid of viruses takes hard work and if micro cloning works it will be very good for healthy plants reproduction.

Scientists hope to draw the attention of producers of fruit and berries developing the industry that is currently far from perfect. So far Kornatsky has started cooperating with farms near Moscow producing strawberries and potatoes- he has new technologies for these plants as well.


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