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Fast-growing Poplar Breeding Project
January 14, 2014 12:16


Irkutsk scientists grew a fast-growing poplar species for biofuel production.

Fast-growing poplar breeding project was developed by research workers of Siberian Institute of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry of the Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences. This was announced by the Institutestaff Vasily Pavlichenko. He explained that today biofuel boilers are becoming more popular.

It happens due to the fact that fossil fuels like coal and oil are exhaustible, expensive and not eco-friendly enough. Mostly, wood waste is used as herbal fuel, but boilers experience the lack of it. "With the help of genetic engineering we have developed a method of growing poplar up to two or three times faster than in nature. This tree will be the raw material for biofuel. We have chosen poplar as one of the fastest growing trees in Siberia, resistant to our harsh climate and diverse pests," scientist said.

He also said that the cultivation of genetically modified poplar begins with designing a special genetically engineered structure, which is embedded into poplar's plant cells. Then they are placed into tubes with special nutritional solution. The cells grow into saplings, which get planted in greenhouses for further growth, reproduction and keeping the purity of the line. "This process is quite time-consuming and labor-intensive at early stage as it is, yet hindered by Russian law, which prohibits cultivating genetically modified plants in the open field. Therefore, at early stages we grow them in closed greenhouses on experimental fields," Pavlichenko said.

He believes that once the project demonstrated its effectiveness, the question of their commercial use will come about of itself. "We hope that this will happen in the near future. We are creating a plant that is not able to reproduce in the wild on its own and cannot cause any harm," the biologist summed up.

In December 2013 the work of the scientists from Irkutsk was one of the three winners of the all-Russian contest "Youth Energy". The scientists were awarded one million rubles. Biologists are planning to spend the major part of the funds received on necessary reagents, new equipment and software. Also, in the future they will organize a clean laboratory zone that will meet the last requirements.

Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Russian Academy of Sciences     

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