Main research question/goal
Breeding of (ornamental) plants is done by classical breeding techniques and a wide range of in vitro techniques. The aim of this research project of ILVO and Ghent University was to develop an innovative technique by co-cultivation with Rhizobium rhizogenes as a third standard method in breeding companies. This co-cultivation can have advantages such as spontaneous dwarf growth or a more compact growth. In the production process of plants, chemical growth inhibitors are often used to obtain a more compact growth. Besides the evaluation and optimization of this technique for four different crops, a network was also set up to disseminate the new knowledge quickly to Flemish breeders and growers and promote innovation within the ornamental plant breeding sector.Research approach
This project has been completed. This innovative technology was tested for four types of ornamentals: Viola is the example plant for the group of seed-propagated bedding plants, Osteospermum represents the vegetatively propagated herbaceous perennials, Gloxinia represents the flowering pot plants and Azalea, an important Flemish ornamental, is the suitable model plant for woody ornamentals. These plants were selected because of their importance for the Flemish ornamental horticulture and because their production is not possible without the use of growth regulators.Relevance/Valorisation
Breeders have shown their eagerness to adopt this new technology. Through implementation of this new technology in breeding companies, the development of a new range of cultivars that are grown without any, or with fewer, growth inhibitors was promoted. This could have an economic and ecological impact for the ornamental horticulture. This research is a response to breeder’s desire for compact ornamentals without growth inhibitors and society’s call for more sustainable plant production.