Mexico: In vitro blueberry propagation

Biotechnology is an important issue for the agricultural food sector nowadays and, despite the achievements and advances obtained, in some cases there is resistance to applying it in matters of food and fodder demand.

Biotechnology is presented as an alternative and a support for food solutions; within the application of biotechnology, one of the fields that generates the most controversy and debate is that of genetic modification and its application to different areas such as food, and pest and disease control.

Highly developed countries have been working with biotechnology for more than 50 years. In Jalisco, there are already people working on this type of technological innovation, based on research and development. This is good news essentially because there are advances and local knowledge on these issues. 

Engineer Andres Robles Escoto, for example, has devoted himself to working in a laboratory to obtain a protocol for the propagation of two varieties of blueberry, which are of great commercial interest. He also installed a greenhouse with adult blueberry plants in a semi-hydroponic system, which are the mother plants or tissue donors that he uses in the laboratory.

Andres has been working intensely for the last 7 months on this technique and has obtained positive results within the 4 stages of tissue culture, i.e.: Initiation, where the plant tissue is prepared and introduced for the first time into a culture medium for its apical growth; Multiplication, once the tissue grows, it is sectioned to obtain several individuals and reintroduce them into the culture medium; Rooting, root growth is obtained with another type of culture medium; and acclimatization, where the plant is placed on substrate and acclimatized in a greenhouse.

The first 2 stages have already been accomplished and the necessary material to work on the last 2 stages is already available. Once the protocol has been achieved, the process will be scaled commercially and researchers will be able to obtain more protocols of other high-impact crops, such as raspberry, blackberry, potato, among others.

Every week, Andres works on a new experiment to evaluate how to achieve the most favorable results at the lowest cost, and there is always plant material to be working on new culture media.

"The cultivation of plant tissues consists in isolating and taking a small portion of tissue, cell, or organ from a mother plant for its later cloning and development. The growth of this portion takes place in a sterile culture medium, which contains the necessary nutrients for it to help it grow so that we can obtain a plant," Andres Robles stated.

This technology allows the development of a genetically, phenotypically, and physiologically healthy, vigorous and productive plant through asexual reproduction; that's why it is called a clone, since it is an exact copy of the mother or donor plant. 

Biotechnology describes any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or their derivatives to make or modify specific products or processes. These organisms may or may not be genetically modified, so Biotechnology should not be confused with Genetic Engineering. 

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