The recently patented technology Plant Nanohealing (Ref. ES2645757 B1), which is based on the use of bacterial cellulose as a wound healing and anti-pathogenic agent, is currently being tested to improve the efficiency of stone pine (Pinus pinea) grafting in collaboration with the company Forestal Catalana.
The Plant Nanohealing technology resulted from a collaboration among two researchers from different disciplines: Núria Sánchez Coll, researcher at CRAG expert in plant defense mechanisms, and Anna Laromaine, researcher at the ICMAB-CSIC expert in nanomaterials and bacterial cellulose. These researchers jointly developed a nanocomposite patch made of bacterial cellulose and silver nanoparticles, and demonstrated its positive effect on tissue regeneration and healing, as well as its antibacterial and antifungal properties when applied to plant wounds in different model species (Alonso-Díaz et al., 2019; more on this previous story here).
“We quickly saw that this technology holds a wide potential for different agricultural applications in which plants are wounded, such as grafting, pruning or ornamental flower cutting,” explains Sánchez Coll, researcher at CRAG.
The technology developed by the CRAG and ICMAB-CSIC researchers captured the interest of the company Forestal Catalana, SA. One of the strategic lines of the Forestal Catalana is the promotion and commercialization of grafted stone pines to produce pine nuts. The current production of the stone pine in Catalonia cannot satisfy the increasing worldwide market demand, with the consequent economics losses by the sector.
The company uses the grafting technique with selected clones to obtain more productive varieties, although the efficiency of this type of graft is very variable (only 20% on certain years). Now, thanks to a grant from the Government of Catalonia, the company Forestal Catalana is collaborating with the research centres CRAG and ICMAB-CSIC to test whether the Plant Nanohealing patches increase grafting efficiency by applying on the pines graft zones. The project is a unique opportunity to bring two research centres dedicated to cutting-edge science in the fields of agriculture and materials closer to the productive sector through the transfer of technology.
The project is funded by a “Grant for demonstration activities and knowledge transfer” from Government of Catalonia-Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food (Ref: 56 30012 2018 2A). This call is co-funded by the European Union through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).
- Process for the grafting of stone pines
- Grafted pines for the test in the greenhouse of Forestal Catalana (Riells i Viabrea)
- Plant Nanohealing patch applied on the pine graft