Preserving Biodiversity

The first laboratory for in vitro cryopreservation of fruit genetic resources in Serbia was founded in the Fruit Research Institute in Čačak.

Researchers from Department of Fruit Physiology at the Fruit Research Institute in Čačak are working with two world-renowned centres engaged in development and implementation of protocols for plant germplasm cryopreservation: CRA – Fruit Tree Research Centre of Rome (Italy) and Centre IRD de Montpellier (France) as part of the COST 871 action ‘Cryopreservation of Crop Species in Europe’ – CryoPlaNet and COST 863 ‘Euroberry Research’ action. The COST 871 Action is dedicated to the advancement and application of modern techniques for conservation of plant genetic resource in Europe. Special subject of action is the long-term preservation of plant germplasm applying in vitro cryopreservation techniques.  Research on application of cryopreservation for conservation of fruit trees germplasm, initiated within this collaboration, represents the first study of its kind in our country.

This study is of great practical importance since the Fruit Research Institute has ex situ field collection of fruit trees which includes 1,131 genotypes (cultivars developed at the Institute, autochthonous and introduced cultivars), so it is of vital interest to prevent the extinction of this extremely valuable germplasm of continental fruit tree species. Ex situ conservation means the conservation of plant genetic resources out of their natural habitats either by conserving germplasm as seeds or as whole plants in field collections, or by establishing of in vitro collections.

The special significance of the research is reflected in initiating the formation of in vitro gene bank of fruit species in our country where valuable autochthonous genetic fund, as well as new cultivars and rootstocks would be kept.

Results of the research related to the implementation and optimization of droplet vitrification technique for cryopreservation of cherry plum (generative rootstock for plum) and blackberry cultivar Čačanska bestrna were published in leading international journal Scientia Horticulturae in 2011. Results represent a significant contribution to the establishment of an optimized cryopreservation technology. The technology will be directly implemented within the program of establishment the first in vitro fruit gene bank in Serbia.

Laboratory for in vitro cryopreservation

The first laboratory for in vitro cryopreservation of fruit species in our country was founded in the Fruit Research Institute in Čačak. Intensive study to modify and optimize the basic protocols for various cryopreservation techniques (encapsulation dehydration, vitrification and droplet vitrification) and to efficiently apply them in preservation of various continental fruit tree species are currently being carried out.

Cryopreservation is the freezing of cells, tissues or organs in liquid nitrogen at ultra-low temperatures (-196оC) in the presence of protective agents (cryoprotectants). The development of the method, complementary to conventional methods for plant germplasm preservation, significantly reduces the risks associated with successful germplasm preservation under field conditions (so-called field gene bank) and provides additional security for plant species collections. Currently, cryopreservation is the only safe and cost-effective option for long-term preservation of vegetatively propagated species, and is a real guarantee in case of accidental loss of plant material (natural disasters, attacks by pests and pathogens, etc.). So far, cryopreservation procedures are developed for about 150-200 plant species in the world, but its broad application includes an additional modification of the basic protocols. These optimized protocols can be applied to divergent germplasm.

Researchers from the laboratory for cryopreservation plan to continue their work on implementation, further development and optimization of other techniques for cryopreservation, i.e. vitrification and dormant-bud cryopreservation technique which is one of the most contemporary technique for cryopreservation of woody plant species.


Source:  www.inovacionifond.rs