Research and Development at Rahan Meristem

An agro-biotech company with over 40 years’ experience in plant propagation and improvement, Rahan Meristem’s work covers many areas, from cell biology, breeding, mass propagation in tissue cultures to plant viral cleaning and conventional planting. The Company’s R&D Department is among the most advanced in Israel and around the world, with its areas of expertise covering genetics and improvement of fruit trees, viral cleaning in tissue cultures, creation of fluid cultures to facilitate vegetable breeders, tissue culture-based propagation, cell cultures, improvement by inducing mutations in cultures, genetic engineering, genome editing (CRISPR). The extensive knowledge and experience in these areas positions the Company as a world leader in creating solutions to plant and agricultural problems using tissue culture- and cell-culture-based methods. Agricultural crops that are based on propagation that does not depend on seeds requires tremendous skills and specialized tools.

We routinely develop protocols for culture-based plant propagation.

Plants that are cultivated in cultures have many advantages:

  • Fast propagation and large quantities of plants while maintaining their genetics.
  • Plants that are grown in cultures are free of fungus, bacteria and pests.
  • No cultivation of plants from high culture.
  • Retention of a genetic bank in a limited area.

Protocols developed in recent years

Avocado rootstocks in culture

Blueberries in culture

Kiwi in culture

Cultivation and improvement of varieties

The R&D Department has extensive experience in cultivating and improving agricultural crops.

We can affect a large number of plant properties:

  • Crop components (quantity, date of harvest)
  • Fruit quality (size, shape, metabolism, etc.)
  • Resistance to stress (disease, deficiencies, saltiness, etc.)
  • Plant architecture (height, cluster shape, etc.)

Cultivation and improvement methods are based on use of cell and tissue cultures, and include:

  • Random mutations
  • Induced mutations
  • Somaclonal variations
  • Genetic engineering
  • Genome editing (CRISPR)

Our new varieties:

Adi variety – dwarf-like stature with high fruit yield

Varieties in development:

Variety resistant to Fusarium (TR4)

Intentional contamination and scan of resistant lines at Wageningen University (Netherlands)

A -lines following fungal sepsis were contaminated and diseased

B – lines post-sepsis were asymptomatic and remained healthy

The lines that demonstrated potential resistance (B) in the greenhouse contamination trials were transferred to a field trial in parcels that were highly infected by TR4 in the Philippines.

The first crop of lines in the field trial. To date, almost 95% of trees did not show symptoms of contamination with TR4.

Plant viral cleaning:

Rahan Meristem’s array of services include routine cleaning plants of a range of viruses using tissue culture-based methods. The cleaning and propagation process is done using thermotherapy – the standard method for cleaning plants of viruses in tissue cultures, and chemotherapy – the alternative method for cleaning plants of viruses in tissue culture. For every cultivation, the food media is developed and adapted for the various propagation stages of the clean material in a culture.

Sweet potatoes

We routinely clean sweet potatoes from a range of viruses. We retain a bank of clean plants in a culture for the various breeders and every year supply virus-free plants to the various breeders.

Grapevines

We routinely clean grapevines of a range of viruses. Both varieties and rootstock can be cleaned.

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