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Boosting coffee production via somatic embryogenesis

(The Philippine Star) - December 26, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Coffee is an export commodity that plays a key role in national economies including the Philippines.

However, coffee production in the country has been affected by low market prices, senile or unproductive trees, and poor technology utilization.

Pests and diseases in coffee like leaf rust, coffee berry disease, stem borer, and nematodes have been constraining local coffee production.

Today, tissue culture can help in addressing the low production of coffee trees through rapid and massive production of quality planting materials.

To address this challenge, the Cavite State University (CvSU) is adopting somatic embryogenesis (SE), an efficient, rapid, and large-scale plant propagation technique that can improve the productivity of superior coffee varieties, Coffea arabica and C. liberica.

This is part of the project, Enhancement of Micropropagation techniques to meet the Demand for Quality Planting Materials, which is funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD).

Tissue culture can fast track the mass propagation of coffee especially when planting materials are limited in conventional vegetative propagation.

The existing methods of propagating coffee in the Philippines are stem cuttings and the use of seeds.

Moreover, buds, grafts, and cuttings must be sourced from vertically growing shoots such as the primary fruiting plagiotropic branches or branches growing at an almost horizontal angle to maintain the uniformity in the population of coffee plants.

Arabica and Liberica varieties were selected due to their superior bean yield, and bean quality.

The Liberica variety is resistant to common insects, pests, and diseases.

CvSU, Benguet State University (BSU), Central Philippines State University (CPSU), and Central Mindanao University were identified as cooperating agencies.

These four universities will also represent Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

The project involved the development and optimization of the different stages of SE: callus induction phase, differentiation phase and embryo development; plantlet regeneration phase, and rooting and acclimatization phase.

It had targeted the production of 600,000 coffee seedlings in three years.

 CvSU hopes to sustain the production of coffee seedlings, support the livehood of coffee farmers, and eventually help in stabilizing the prices of coffee.

The identified target beneficiaries include coffee farmers, coffee producers, cooperatives, associations, coffee researchers and extension workers, coffee consumers, entrepreneurs, and industries or processing companies.

Coffee somatic embryogenesis is one of the many initiatives of DOST-PCAARRD in connection with Outcome One.

Outcome One seeks to provide science-based know-how and tools that will enable the agricultural sector to raise productivity to world-class standards.

AQUATIC AND NATURAL RESOURCES RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ARABICA AND LIBERICA BENGUET STATE UNIVERSITY CAVITE STATE UNIVERSITY CENTRAL MINDANAO UNIVERSITY CENTRAL PHILIPPINES STATE UNIVERSITY COFFEE ENHANCEMENT OF MICROPROPAGATION OUTCOME ONE PHILIPPINE COUNCIL QUALITY PLANTING MATERIALS
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