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Cryopreservation: Scientists protect diversity of Uganda’s staple crops with cold storage

Uganda’s National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) is using liquid nitrogen to conserve banana cell lines …. to combat disease and climate threats.

…. The crops so far conserved using this method include the East Africa cooking banana, also known locally as matooke.

The project — the first of its kind in the country — was started by senior research scientist Dr. Priver Namanya Bwesigye at the National Agricultural Research Laboratories (NARL) at Kawanda (a NARO institute) ….

The cryopreservation process involves first looking for banana cells from the banana meristems. Cells are then evaluated to establish if they can produce embryos …. Once a good cell line has been established, it is placed inside a tank containing the liquid nitrogen for storage at minus 196 degrees Celsius.

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Cryopreservation has multiple advantages ….  there is no risk of contamination from bacteria or fungi. Researchers can then recover the cells in viable forms when needed …. cells stored in nitrogen are viable for many years, giving researchers easy access anytime they want to do research like crop breeding.

Uganda’s banana crop is currently threatened by …. banana bacteria wilt, a virulent scourge that has decimated farmers’ plantations …. scientists believe that technologies such as cryopreservation can be harnessed to preserve precious crop genetic resources.

Read full, original article: Uganda’s first cryopreservation unit is conserving banana diversity

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