Sunday, October 24, 2021

Ornamental plant craze gets boost with DOST’s tissue culture lab

PAMPANGA. DOST Secretary Fortunato T. Dela Peňatogether with DOST-Central Luzon Regional Director Dr. Julius Caesar V. Sicat (bottom picture, center right) and DOST Provincial S&T Directo– Bulacan Angelita Q. Parungao makes an official visit and inspection of the construction of the Innovative Tissue Culture Laboratory for Ornamental Plants (iLAB Garden City) building that is being constructed at the Garden City display area in Sta. Cruz, Guiguinto, Bulacan. The iLAB Garden City building is expected to be completed by August 2021 and operational around the 4th quarter of 2021. (Contributed photo)

THE new ongoing construction of an Innovative Tissue Culture Laboratory for Ornamental Plants in Guiguinto town in Bulacan is set to boost the ongoing craze for ornamental plants and provide need technical support for ornamental plant farmers.

This as Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato de la Pena recently visited and inspected the ongoing construction and expressed satisfaction at the progress being made on the project dubbed as iLAB Garden City.

“It will bring Guiguinto closer to being the trendsetter on ornamental plant culture in the country,” Pena said. D

OST Central Luzon Regional Director Dr. Julius Caesar V. Sicat and Provincial S&T Center Bulacan Provincial Director Angelita Q. Parungao accompanied De la Pena in the inspection.

Sta. Cruz in Guiguinto Bulacan had always been the go-to for ornamental plant farmers even before the start of the craze for urban gardening due to the inevitable free time brought about by quarantine restrictions of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The budget for the construction of the building of the iLAB Garden City was shouldered by the local government unit of Guiguinto through the leadership of Mayor Ambrocio C. Cruz, Jr. while the cost of the needed laboratory equipment and materials, salaries of laboratory personnel, technical training and grow-out facility of propagated ornamental plants will be funded from the Regional Grants-in-Aid program of DOST-Central Luzon.

The amount of P2.79 million has been set aside to start the project. It is expected to be fully operational by the 4th quarter of 2021.

Boost for Ornamental Plant Farming

The establishment of the tissue culture laboratory aims to provide technical assistance to the ornamental plant farmers in the municipality of Guiguinto through the establishment of a tissue culture laboratory intended for the production and propagation of ornamental plants.

The plant tissue culture laboratory will also supplement the propagation of ornamental plants by the farmers when they require large-scale production of ornamental plants.

Once the laboratory is fully operational 32 Hibiscus hybrids or more commonly known as Gumamela developed by the Institute of Plant Breeding in the University of the Philippines at Los Banos will be made available to the growers so they can propagate them on their own.

Plans are also being worked out to acquire the assistance of the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI-DOST) for the transfer of non-conventional plant breeding technologies.

Support for Growers

Currently, the ornamental plant growers in Guiguinto employ conventional farm practices such as cutting, marcotting and grafting.

However, such conventional practices have high mortality rates of transplants aside from not being applicable for propagating some ornamental plant species. They also have difficulties propagating some ornamental plants such as Bucida spinosa, Cypress plant (Cupressus family), Creeping Jennifer (Lysimachia nummularia), Ornamental Legumes (Caesalpinioidae, Mimosoidae, Faboideae), among others.

The establishment of the tissue culture laboratory will as it has decided advantages over conventional propagation methods currently being used.

Some of these advantages include being able to quickly generate identical mature offspring of one plant with desirable traits, a highly desirable feature especially for commercial large-scale production of plants; production of multiple plants in the absence of seeds or pollinators to produce seeds; production of plants from seeds or stems that may otherwise have low chances of growing; production of novel hybrids and genetically modified plants with improved agronomic traits; and production of plants with greatly reduced chances of transmitting disease, pests and pathogens.


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