On September 2, 2020, the People's Government of Kaiyuan City of Honghe Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Nanjing Agricultural University, and Kaiyuan Tianhua Biological Industry jointly held the unveiling ceremony of the "Chen Fadi" workstation of Nanjing Agricultural University in Zhihua Town, Kaiyuan City.
This marks the opening of the Kaiyuan National Modern Agricultural Industrial Park in terms of germplasm resource protection, new species research and development, seedling breeding, and high-quality flower planting through institute-government-enterprise cooperation. It has also laid a solid foundation for Kaiyuan to promote biodiversity conservation, accelerate the modernization of agriculture and rural areas, and fully realize rural revitalization through the combination of industry, education, and research.
The expert workstation builds an intelligent multi-span greenhouse for soilless cultivation of 5,000 m2 as a base for combining scientific research and practice, supporting the construction of intelligent water and fertilizer control systems, mist systems, ventilation systems, temperature control systems, shading systems, blackout systems, and other facilities.
"Relying on the high-quality geographical and climatic conditions of Kaiyuan, cultivate new flower varieties, work on the development points of the local flower industry, and make Kaiyuan flowers bigger and stronger." Chen Fadi, President of Nanjing Agricultural University says.
In May of this year, a research team composed of 6 PhDs and postgraduates in ornamental horticulture from Nanjing Agricultural University was stationed in the workstation. Relying on a series of projects such as the national research and development plan and expert workstations, research on new chrysanthemum varieties, seedling breeding, variety comparison, precise control of water and fertilizer, quality maintenance, and soil health management are carried out here.
Here, each member of the research team has their own small experimental greenhouse and their own research topics. Through different breeding methods, traits such as resistance are introduced into cultivars, and new and distinctive varieties are selected to make flowers more outstanding and resistant, or to increase the flowering period.
"In Nanjing, flowers are generally planted only once a year, and one round of hybrid breeding or selection is carried out. After we cooperate with the Kaiyuan base, we can use Kaiyuan’s natural advantageous light and temperature to produce 3 to 4 crops of flowers each year. In this way, multiple rounds of breeding can be carried out each year, greatly shortening the breeding cycle," explains Liu Huahao, a graduate student in the research group of the Kaiyuan Base of Nanjing Agricultural University.
Seven climatic zones, including river valley climate, northern tropical climate, southern subtropical climate, mid-subtropical climate, northern subtropical climate, warm temperate climate, and plateau climate coexist in Kaiyuan. The diversity of soil as a result of these diverse climatic conditions makes Kaiyuan rich in biodiversity, and thus suitable for a variety of plants to survive and breed.
While the workstations use scientific and technological methods to carry out research about varieties, development, and seedling breeding, another main task of the researchers is the protection of germplasm resources.
The expert workstation has built a germplasm resource preservation nursery, which will include 5000 chrysanthemum germplasm resources collected and preserved by Nanjing Agricultural University, more than 3800 flower germplasm resources preserved in vivo by Kaiyuan Tianhua Biological Industry, and about 280 collected from the private sector. The traditional Chinese chrysanthemum germplasm resources have been transplanted to the workstation for planting, and they are being preserved while also being developed and utilized.
Extensive data management can be realized in the greenhouse. There are sensors to collect data on light, humidity, and temperature. There is also a QR code at the door, which provides people with information about the plants and the processes in the greenhouse. Furthermore, researchers can monitor micrometeorology and soil conditions in real-time to ensure that germplasm resources are preserved in a suitable environment to avoid loss and degradation.
The Kaiyuan National Modern Agricultural Industrial Park has signed a contract with 25 well-known flower companies at home and abroad, such as Ball Horticultural Company from the US, and Anthura and Schreurs Roses from the Netherlands. Moreover, the Park and China Agricultural University, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Nanjing Agricultural University, Yunnan Agricultural University, Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and eight other universities and institutes have cooperated to build workstations, promote the deep integration of production, education, research, and application, and accelerate the transformation and application of scientific and technological achievements.
Up to now, the Kaiyuan National Modern Agricultural Industrial Park has independently developed 29 varieties of chrysanthemum and wintersweet flowers, introduced and developed 168 new flower varieties with independent intellectual property rights, and preserved more than 1,000 germplasm resources. From January to July, it produced 265 million seedlings, with a flower output value of 870 million RMB. It has patented seedlings such as roses, gerbera, phalaenopsis, and chrysanthemum, breaking the long-standing monopoly of foreign flower varieties.