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Unlocking the future of agriculture: Researchers describe breakthrough techniques in cryopreservation in new e-book

In an era where sustainable agriculture and food security are at the forefront of global concerns, innovative solutions are not just welcome; they are necessary. Dr. Gayle Volk (USDA-ARS), alongside her distinguished colleagues, has introduced a groundbreaking series of e-book chapters that could potentially transform the way we approach the preservation and health of clonally propagated plants, including the staple crop, potatoes.

Potato in vitro plant recovered
after cryotherapy. Credit Jean Bettoni.

The e-book “Training in Plant Genetic Resources: Cryopreservation of Clonal Propagules” is being developed through a collaboration between Colorado State University and the United States Department of Agriculture. This e-book is fully public and is full of rich chapters with protocol information, videos, and pictures.

The initiative, led by Dr. Gayle Volk of the USDA, with support from many colleagues around the globe, marks a significant leap forward in agricultural science. This effort to make such rich content freely available will certainly facilitate technology transfer and increase knowledge on the conservation and use of plant genetic resources.
 
The new content included in this e-book comprises four detailed chapters, meticulously designed to offer a comprehensive guide on the cryopreservation of clonally propagated plants. These new chapters were authored by Dr. Jean Bettoni, Katheryn Chen, and Dr. Gayle Volk. The content of the e-book is supported by a series of explanatory YouTube videos.

This cutting-edge technique is not only pivotal for the long-term conservation of plant genetic resources, but also plays a crucial role in combating pathogens through a novel method known as shoot tip cryotherapy. 

A New Horizon in Plant Preservation

The first chapter of the series, “An Introduction to the Cryopreservation of Clonally Propagated Plants,” lays the foundation for understanding the critical importance and potential of cryopreservation in safeguarding plant diversity and ensuring the continuity of agricultural practices.

The Science Behind Shoot Tip Cryopreservation

Delving deeper, the second chapter, “An Overview of Shoot Tip Cryopreservation,” explicates the intricate processes involved in preserving the shoot tips of plants at ultra-low temperatures. This technique is essential for maintaining the vitality and genetic integrity of plant species over extended periods.

Practical Implementation and Considerations

The third chapter, “Considerations When Implementing Shoot Tip Cryopreservation,” addresses the practical aspects and challenges of applying these techniques in cryobanks. It serves as a vital guide for researchers and practitioners in the field, offering insights into the operational and technical considerations essential for successful cryopreservation.

A Leap Towards Disease-Free Cultivation

Perhaps the most revolutionary aspect of the series is detailed in the fourth chapter, “Cryotherapy Using Shoot Tip Cryopreservation.” This segment introduces the concept of shoot tip cryotherapy – a technique that leverages cryopreservation for the eradication of pathogens from clonally propagated plants. This method holds immense promise for enhancing the health and yield of crops like potatoes, which are often susceptible to various diseases.

Empowering the Future of Agriculture

This seminal work underscores the potential of cryopreservation and cryotherapy in revolutionizing agricultural practices. By offering a sustainable solution to preserve plant genetic resources and combat pathogens, this research paves the way for more resilient and productive agricultural systems.

For those interested in exploring these innovative techniques further, the detailed chapters are available through the provided links. Additionally, Dr. Gayle Volk and Dr. Jean Bettoni welcome inquiries and discussions on this transformative approach to plant preservation and disease control at Gayle.Volk@usda.gov and jcbettoni@gmail.com.

As the global community continues to grapple with the challenges of climate change, food security, and sustainable agriculture, the work of Dr. Volk and her colleagues offers a beacon of hope. Through their pioneering research, the future of crops like potatoes — and indeed, the future of our food supply — looks brighter than ever.

Dr. Gayle Volk – USDA-ARS, National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation, Fort Collins, CO, USA Dr. Jean Carlos Bettoni – An independent scientist working on techniques to improve plant cryopreservation procedures for genebanks and virus/viroid eradication in horticultural species
Cover photo:
Cryotank storage at the USDA-ARS National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation (NLGRP), in Fort Collins, Colorado. Photo credit Jennifer Kendall.

Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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