Crop Science - Specific Research Areas

Comparing the effectiveness of a new basal medium for plant micropropagation

Principal investigator: John Cullum

Start date: April 2009
Collaborative partner: Valcent Products EU Ltd and Phytoplant Research, Spain
Formula Beta is a new basal medium for plant micropropagation and trials on Chinese foxglove, a medicinal herb, showed that better results were obtained compared with using the standard basal medium. The results of these trials have now been published. The comparative trials will next look at the effectiveness of Formula Beta as a basal medium in potato micropropagation.

Assessing the resistance of plant species to pathological diseases

Principal investigator: John Cullum

Start date: April 2008
Collaborative partner: Technological Educational Institute of Thessaloniki, Greece
The initial investigations examined the resistance of hawthorn species to isolates of the fireblight bacterium using laboratory and field methods developed at TEI. The results were subsequently published The next series of trials test whether these techniques are appropriate for assessing the resistance of elm to Dutch elm disease.

Methods for overcoming seed dormancy

Principal investigator: John Cullum

Start date: 1990
Collaborative partner: Italian Environment Protection Agency
This has been an ongoing area of investigation. The principal area of investigation has looked at the seeds of various rose species and marked improvements have been seen when a compost activator is added to the pre-treatment medium. Currently the College germination of Bupleurum falcatum seed is being investigated. This rare plant, the sickle-leaved hare's-ear, is found at only 1 site in the UK, not far from Writtle. College conservation staff are working to safeguard this plant population and understanding more about its seed dormancy mechanism has enabled more plants to be produced and returned to the site.