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UB research findings on the effect of salinity on callus formation and organogenesis of Red Kidney Beans published in international research journal Print E-mail
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Thursday, 30 January 2014 00:00

Red Kidney Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), a major staple food source in Latin America and particularly in Belize plays a significant role in the cultural and economic activities of Belize.

 The legume, high in protein content and considered to be on the daily menu across Belize is faced with on-going challenges due to increased soil salinity, global warming and its effect.

 “The experiment was carried out in an effort to develop a salinity resistant variety of red kidney beans,” said Associate Professor, Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Belize, Dr Thippi Thiagarajan. “It was carried out to test the ability of Red Kidney Beans to form callus and undergo organogenesis under in vitro saline conditions.”

 Grain legumes have been noted to have a poor regeneration capacity under in vitro conditions, and in light of the sea level rise and its effect on soil salinity, therefore developing a variety that can withstand saline conditions will be an advantage for countries like Belize where climate change can have drastic effect on salinity of soil in the near future. Research is being conducted in generating full plantlets from callus under saline conditions that can tolerate moderate saline conditions that may result from rising sea level.

Currently the University is engaged in the production of sugar cane seedlings through meristem culture at it’s Micro-propagation laboratory. A state of the art facility, fitted with equipment funded by the European Union was inaugurated in 2011 at the University Central Farm Campus. Micro-propagation is a technique used in biotechnology where a very small piece of tissue (shoot apex, leaf section, or even an individual cell) is excised and placed in sterile culture medium and is used for rapid multiplication of plants.

Kudos to Dr Thiagarajan for leading the research and to the students he supervised during the research - Helly Recinos and Arlitta Tillett who have since graduated from the University of Belize. The research was conducted between 2008 to 2012, and the article was published in European Scientific Journal VOL 9, NO 33 (2013)