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Meristemal Propagation

Propagation of plant by means of the so called „Invitro-Method“, which means by growing terminal and lateral meristemes of selected mother-plants seems to be no topic for application of micro fog. Growth of the meristemes and rooting of the resulting plantlets is performed in sterile plastic containers on a special gel-basis which provide the necessary micro-climate for the delicate plantlets.
Besides that all propagation containers are stored in climatized rooms to keep the plantlets in the most favorable conditions.

Therefore fogging and the resulting humidification makes no sense during the first phase of meristemal propagation.

Matching the plant-types the plantlets remain in their plastic containers till they reach a desired size. Then they are extracted, replanted into a substrate and very often into the container they will be finally sold. They only need some time for hardening and growing to the needed size for selling.

From this point in time - replanting from the meristemal container into plant substrate - the humidification with hovering fog provides a substantial advantage compared with other methods of watering. The reason is simple - the plantlets, which are still small and delicate, are extracted from a cosy environment and thrown into "real life" for further growing. Sprinkling system with their relative large droplets can either damage the delicate plantlets by their impact or wet the substrate too much so that the desired aeration of the soil is lowered. If this happens rooting and root growth can be impaired considerably.

In addition the evenness of humidification across the total growth-area can be achieved with fogging far easier that with any other system.

As "in-vitro" production is a continuous process - each day new batches of plantlets are added for hardening and growing while ready plant are removed for sale - the fogging system must be able to react to the varying needs of production without high investments and complex controls.

Plantfog developed 1988 together with the largest meristemal propagator in Austria - Vitroplant in Korneuburg near Vienna, Austria - a process which provides a maximum in efficiency with relative modest investments and simple control procedures.
For hardening and final growing of plantlets 24 table spaces are used, each with an area of 2 x 6 m in two levels.
Each level is set up like a miniature glasshouse and enclosed in a tent of plastic sheets for isolation from room climate.

Practical experiences have shown that two humidification profiles are totally sufficient for hardening and final growth.

To avoid the effort of controlling humidity individually for each table - which would be prohibitive in terms of investment - we have developed a method which we call "Representative Humidity".

All growth tables are supplied with pressurized water by two independent feeder lines.

Each line is connected to a high pressure pump.

The feeder lines to the individual table spaces are provided with ball valves so that each growing space can be supplied with fog by one or the other pressure water line. The ball valves are operated manually as switching from one mode to the other is a rather infrequent task.

To control the two humidity-modes we use only two humidity feelers which provide, together with two independent interval controls, the desired humidity levels in the growing tents.

The feelers are connected with cables which are sufficiently long to be placed in the growing area of a selected (and representative) table.

During the hardening phase - which last some ten days following the extraction of the plantlets from the meristemal containers - a very high humidity near saturation is needed - which means 90...95% rel.H.

For the final growth phase a somewhat lower value of some 70% r.H. is sufficient.

According to the current table setting with freshly extracted or already hardened plantlets the feeder lines are connected to the matching high pressure system.

An Example:

The tables 1, 2, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 16 have just received freshly extracted plantlets from the climate box. They require humidity near saturation. This is controlled and provided for by pump #1. The ball valves for a.m. tables are opened for feeder line #1 and closed for feeder line #2. The humidity feeler for these tables is placed for instance on table #6.

Interval control #1 will provide the necessary fogging with the help of the feeler which prevents over-humidification.
Tables 3, 4, 5, 7, 14, 19, 20 and 24 contain plantlets in the final growth phase. These will receive only 70% r.H. Pump #2 with its feeder lines operates these tables. Therefore the ball valves for feeder line #2 are open and for feeder line #1 closed (for secure operation the feeder lines and ball valves are color-coded).

All other tables are currently not in operation and are being prepared for future tasks. Here both ball valves are closed, no water is lost.

In spite of [or because of] its simplicity this combination of automatic and manual operation has been running now for more than six years to full satisfaction. For more details on the system or growing parameters please contact the technical managers Dipl. Ing. Leonhard and Dr. Färber, Tel. +43-2243-32 698.

Based on the experiences and success with low investments more systems of similar design have been installed - for instance in the Institute for Agro-Biotechnology of the University of Vienna, Research Center Tulln or the Research Labs of the Institute for Pharmakognosis - University Center Althanstraße Vienna.

 

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last modified MAR 2013
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