Scientists put citrus in "deep freeze" to preserve it

Jul 23, 2013

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are creating a backup storage site or "genebank" for citrus germplasm in the form of small buds, called shoot tips, which have been cryopreserved—that is, plunged into liquid nitrogen for long-term cold storage.

Plant physiologist Gayle Volk of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is applying the procedure to create a long-term for important citrus varieties, breeding lines and wild citrus species. She and her colleagues' efforts coincide with concern over the spread of citrus greening, an insect-borne disease first detected in Florida in August 2005 and which now threatens the nation's citrus crop, valued at $3.4 billion in 2011-12.

ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency, and the research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.

Some genebanks maintain living in dedicated groves and screenhouses. But in cryopreservation, Volk saw a way to safeguard valuable germplasm without fear of losing it to insect or disease outbreaks, as well as natural disasters such as freezes, droughts and hurricanes. Instead of safeguarding whole plants or trees, her approach involves cutting tiny shoot tips from new growth, called "flush," and cryopreserving the material for storage inside state-of the-art vaults at the ARS National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation (NCGRP) in Fort Collins, Colo.

The center is something of a "Fort Knox" for plant and animal germplasm. In addition to the value of its collections, which are crucial to conducting research and ensuring the food security of future generations, the NCGRP's storage vaults can withstand tornado-strength winds, floods, and the impact from a 2,500-pound object traveling at 125 miles an hour.

To date, Volk, together with ARS colleagues Richard Lee, Robert Krueger and others, have cryopreserved the shoot tips of 30 cultivars acquired from citrus germplasm collections managed at Riverside, Calif., by ARS in collaboration with the University of California-Riverside.

In preliminary experiments, an average of 53 percent of shoot tips survived being cryopreserved and thawed for use in rootstock grafting procedures, which enable generation of whole plants. A manuscript detailing the methods has been published in the journal Cryoletters.

Explore further: New strawberry species found in Oregon

More information: www.cryoletters.org/

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Technology reveals citrus greening-infected trees

Aug 08, 2011

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are using a technology known as "Fourier transform infrared-attenuated total reflection" (FTIR-ATR) spectroscopy to rapidly identify with 95 percent accuracy citrus plant leaves ...

Test Detects Insect Carriers of Citrus Greening Disease

Oct 26, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- With their pleasing flavor, cheerful color, and health-imparting dose of vitamin C, it's not surprising that oranges are one of America's Top 10 favorite fruits. But some of the nation's citrus ...

New strawberry species found in Oregon

Jul 16, 2013

A recently discovered wild strawberry provides new genetic material for plant research and may lead to a new class of commercial strawberries, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist. ...

Deterring ticks with citrus and millipedes

Mar 11, 2013

Why do birds, monkeys and other animals rub themselves with citrus and creatures like millipedes? One likely reason is because certain plants and arthropods contain natural repellents.

Fighting back against citrus greening

Jan 25, 2013

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists in Fort Pierce, Fla. are helping citrus growers and juice processors address the threat posed by Huanglongbing (HLB), a disease that is costing the citrus industry millions ...

Recommended for you

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

1 hour ago

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

India's ancient mammals survived multiple pressures

20 hours ago

Most of the mammals that lived in India 200,000 years ago still roam the subcontinent today, in spite of two ice ages, a volcanic super-eruption and the arrival of people, a study reveals.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

Deadly human pathogen Cryptococcus fully sequenced

Within each strand of DNA lies the blueprint for building an organism, along with the keys to its evolution and survival. These genetic instructions can give valuable insight into why pathogens like Cryptococcus ne ...

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...

Venture investments jump to $9.5B in 1Q

Funding for U.S. startup companies soared 57 percent in the first quarter to a level not seen since 2001, as venture capitalists piled more money into an increasing number of deals, according to a report due out Friday.