Interesting Techniques (3)

1 Name: Anonymous Scientist : 2008-03-07 10:35 ID:yQ5zTYUZ

Describe a scientific technique that you think is interesting.

Agritech companies produce seed potatoes by taking a few of the healthiest potatoes they can find, grinding them up to seperate individual cells and then diluting the resulting mush. The solution can then be pipetted onto agar, from which a new potato plant will grow. Huge numbers of genetically identical potatoes are grown this way and have been for seventy years. Few people know that all the potatoes they eat are clones, mostly produced in India and China, including the organic ones.

I can't find a decent refernce for this, but here's one of the big companies' sites:

2 Name: Anonymous Scientist : 2008-03-07 11:54 ID:/goTDf8d

Your post reminded me of another agricultural technique: root grafting.

In the 1860 a aphid pest called Phylloxera was introduced in Europe from the US and essentially destroyed all vine plants in the continent. The only solution to restart wine production was to use american breeds of vine which are resistant to Phylloxera. Unfortunately the wine produced from such varieties is of much lower quality, so root grafting was developed, to combine the resistance from american varieties with the qualities of european vines.It's interesting to know that even today all wine we drink is produced by vines which cannot survive on their own, and need to use the roots of Phylloxera resistant vine varieties.

Grafting is also used for most of fruit production plants, and has often the same downside: the increased vigor obtained by grafting often results in less taste of the fruit,... Maybe wine quality would be much better if one could once again grow wines without root grafting. But for the moment, without root grafting, there would be no wine.

3 Name: Anonymous Scientist : 2008-03-07 18:28 ID:S2dnMvRg

Coconut milk. To culture any kind of plant you've gotta have coconut milk in the growth medium (seriously).

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