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Breakthrough in Microclonal Propagation

Dr Irina Batlutskaya and a team of scientists and programmers at Belgorod State University have developed an automated system for microclonal propagation, which will cut down the amount of work and money it will take to grow plants from seeds in vitro. This is important news for food and pharmaceutical producers

Dr Batlutskaya explains,

In order to grow a healthy plant that, importantly, meets the necessary characteristics, it is vital to choose the optimal component composition for the nutrient media. The nutrient medium is the most important component of the microclonal propagation process. Before, it took a long period of experimentation to select the optimal nutrient medium for the subsequent cultivation of plants. This new neural network model performs this operation in a short period of time, and automatically.

The scientists chose to work with Meadow Sage, from the Lamiaceae family of flowering plants, which includes peppermint and other medicinal herbs. These plants have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and other beneficial properties, and are native to Belgorod Region. The resulting plant seedlings were cultivated on 11 modified nutrient media of different compositions to obtain complete mini-plants in vitro.

Based on experimental data, programmers developed a neural network model, to control the concentrations of phytohormones in various combinations in order to obtain the desired characteristics of a medicinal plant. They controlled for stem length, number of leaves, and colour. For example, researchers found that the MS3 medium is optimal for sage cultivation. It has the necessary combination of phytohormones to create a plant with a large number of emerging leaves, a more developed root system, and has better resistance to disease.

Professor Olga Ivashchuk, an expert on neural networks in IT clarified further,

This is a modern approach to scientifically sound management based on intelligent modelling technology. It ensures process optimisation, and a lower consumption of expensive phytohormones. We can control environmental factors, temperature conditions, and we don't need pesticides. We now have the opportunity to propagate medicinal plants so that they begin to produce compounds that can be used as pharmaceutical substances.

For more results on a PDF in English, follow this link.

 Translated by I P Turner, Centre for Foreign Languages and Academic Writing

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29.11.2019


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