AltSU scientists study the possibilities of working with artificial seeds

1 November 2022 Department of Information and Media Communications
Scientists of the Altai Center for Applied Biotechnology continue to work on the project "Preservation and improvement of the gene pool of agricultural, medicinal crops and rare plant species," supported under the Priority 2030 program.

The project started back in 2021, and scientists replenished the collection of sterile cultures in vitro with samples of varietal hops, soft wheat, and a rare Red Book plant - Rhododendron ledebourii, also known as Altai sakura. The project is based on the use of cell and tissue culture methods, which makes it possible to heal plant material and obtain several tens, sometimes hundreds of identical plants from one sample.

This year, biologists continue to develop technologies for clonal micropropagation and long-term conservation using biotechnological methods of promising samples of crops and representatives of wild flora.

"The team has done a lot of experimental work, some successful, some not. The experiments are lengthy, they cannot be carried out in a few days or even weeks. We select the conditions for each crop or species, evaluate development indicators, transplant plants, control their condition in a week, a month, two or more. In general, the maintenance of a living collection is a rather laborious and costly process; cloned plants require frequent replanting and the creation of optimal climatic conditions. But the main thing is that all operations are carried out under sterile conditions and the staff must have special skills in working with cell and tissue cultures. Therefore, the development of technologies that would help reduce the cost of the process or would allow valuable samples to be preserved for many months, or maybe even years, is very relevant. For example, we are exploring the possibilities of working with artificial seeds,” says Olga Mironenko, Head of the project, Director of the Altai Center for Applied Biotechnology, Candidate of Biological Sciences.

Artificial seeds are hydrogel granules, a nutrient medium, in which a particle of the mother plant is placed - a somatic embryoid or gemma. Such seeds look like frog eggs. This technology makes it possible to preserve a valuable genotype for a long time at a low positive temperature.

"This year, for the first time, we have worked out the technology for artificial seeds for hops and rhododendron, identified the optimal concentrations of reagents, and studied the ability to germinate after long-term storage. It has never been accomplished before. We have received good data and are planning to patent our technology,” says Olga Mironenko.

"The main positive side of the Priority 2030 program is that the teams got the opportunity to develop qualitatively, learn new methods, and initiate new areas of research. The program provided for purchasing consumables, modern equipment, in particular a real-time DNA amplifier. All employees of the Center have been trained, and young employees, Candidate of Agricultural Sciences Olga Bychkova and graduate student Elena Brovko underwent internships in leading scientific centers of the country. We began to conduct research at the molecular genetic level, which was previously inaccessible to us, we were able to qualify for funding from outside,” says Olga Mironenko.

The development of competencies and laboratory facilities allowed the Center for Applied Biotechnology to raise additional funds for research and development through a grant from the Government of Altai Krai, implemented jointly with agricultural partners and aimed at studying the infection of potatoes and developing technologies for its improvement. Also, for the first time, the research of the team was supported by the Russian Science Foundation (RNF) - under the leadership of Candidate of Biological Sciences Lyubov Khlebova, a model for the recovery of a promising agricultural crop of hops is being developed. The project will continue next year as well.

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