15 Dec '16
Daria Novikova, a biologist working at the Novosibirsk State University (TSU) and the local Institute of Cytology and Genetics, is developing a set of biological agents to invigorate cultivated plants’ own powers for growth. At the heart of the project are phytohormones, the TSU website .
The new solution is believed to do no harm to the environment, a highly competitive edge over most of today’s conventional substances, primarily nitrates.
“Plants have a hormonal system, and applying our agents to some parts of it speeds up the growth of the respective plant sections. Such agents are used in nanodoses and are therefore very caring for plants as the latter have their own phytohormone decomposition systems and will be able to deal with the agents in their entirety, leaving no trace of them in the environment,” the project leader explained.
Unlike the existing competition in the market, the new agents will have several active substances, not a single one. Ms. Novikova’s team is studying a variety of phytohormone combinations and computing their optimal concentrations which will be enough to alter plants morphology in given directions (like smaller roots, larger leaves, etc.).
Phase 1 tests are said to be successfully over; a plant called Arabidopsis thaliana was used for that. Over the next year the researchers will be testing their bioproduct on wheat and tomatoes.