Philippines: Alocasia to be improved through mutation breeding in a govt project

Alocasia, also known as ‘elephant’s ear,’ has recently gained popularity among ‘plant parents’ since the start of the community quarantine. This trend, which was coined as ‘plantdemic,’ has created opportunities for plant growers as the demand for Alocasia, as well as other ornamental plants, increased.

However, Alocasia’s demand in the market poses a threat to its species diversity; hence, the need for immediate action to conserve the said species.

The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) collaborated with the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI), both agencies are under from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and partnered with De La Salle University - Dasmariñas (DLSU-D) Campus in the breeding of Alocasia through gamma irradiation and chemical treatments.

The project, which conducted a radiosensitivity study on Alocasia species, specifically A. maquilingensis Merr., showed that lower doses of gamma rays has improved its growth rate performance in terms of root structure while higher doses of gamma rays resulted in delayed seedling growth.

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