16 June 2022

Seedlings from a bioreactor

In Russia, a technology has been created that accelerates the normal growth of seedlings by 200 times

RIA News

The first domestic bioreactor technology of plant reproduction was developed by researchers of the V.I. Vernadsky KFU. According to them, the technique will help to remove the problem of import substitution of many plant species for the Russian agricultural industry. The results are published in the journal Agronomy (Kryukov et al., Micropropagation of Grapevine and Strawberry from South Russia: Rapid Production and Genetic Uniformity).

In recent decades, bioreactors — hermetic systems with a liquid nutrient base and a controlled medium - have been increasingly used in industrial crop production to create a reference planting material.

According to the growth rate of seedlings, bioreactors surpass systems with solid nutrient medium traditionally used in agribusiness by an average of 20 times, and home methods of growing "on the windowsill" — by 200 times, the scientists explained. Acceleration is possible due to flexible control of lighting, temperature, hormone levels, micro- and macroelements, as well as other chemical and physical parameters of the environment.

Scientists of the V. I. Vernadsky Crimean Federal University (V.I. Vernadsky KFU) have developed and successfully implemented the first domestic technology of using bioreactors to create high-quality planting material.


Grapes in a test tube. Photo: the press service of the CFU named after V.I. Vernadsky.

According to experts, such developments in world practice are always protected by trade secrets, while their technology is open and can be easily scaled to solve the problems of the Russian market. Bioreactor systems are relatively simple to manufacture and easily automated, which makes them extremely cost-effective, the university said.

"We have created a fast and efficient technology for plant reproduction, primarily focusing on grapes and strawberries. During the six weeks of the experiment, the biomass of plants increased 300 times, the number of new plants in strawberries increased 20 times, in grapes — 5 times. The technology will make it possible to produce planting material inside the country, which previously had to be purchased abroad annually," said Lavr Kryukov, head of the laboratory of microclonal reproduction of plants at the V.I. Vernadsky KFU.

The plant in the bioreactor, being in a sterile container, is washed with a liquid nutrient medium and supplied with air purified using membrane filters. This approach makes it possible to cultivate planting material of any plant species that are in demand in agriculture, the researchers stressed.

As the scientists explained, having the right varieties, you can cure them of viruses and multiply them with the help of bioreactors to the required amount — even within the framework of a small university production, we are talking about hundreds of thousands of reference plants in less than a year.

"By applying the latest methods of plant treatment, in laboratory conditions we can bring to the original genetic purity those commercial plant varieties that have already moved away from the "ideal"," Kryukov noted.

The study was conducted within the framework of the megagrant of the Government of the Russian Federation. At this stage, the laboratory team is working on improving the composition of nutrients and adapting the technology for growing other crops.

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