Commercialization of plant tissue culture technology

Kathmandu | Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Few months back I got a chance to attend a youth forum which is being organized once in a month by the biotechnology graduates of Nepal. And, it has been nearly a year or more since this talk program has been conducted continuously. And, it has been a year of glorious journey and we feel glad to share this to all of you. The essence of the program is to make people aware about the necessity and importance of biotechnology in Nepal. And, this time the topic of this talk program (Team Up and Talk Biotechnology) has been “Commercialization of plant tissue culture technology”. It has been long since I wrote this blog on the very program, but somehow I have not been able to manage to post it. But, now, I am posting it here. Hope you will enjoy the post.

There are just few handfuls of people, group, organization or institute that dares to escalate and stand in the time of adversity, and “Team Up and Talk About Biotechnology” is one such youth forums. “Team Up and Talk About Biotechnology” has ventured in this noble work of garnering the current molecular biologists of Nepal since January 2012, and since then has been engaged actively in such discussion programs pertaining to the ongoing research works in Nepal and their achievements so far.

In the due process, this time, the very group has just finished its 10th. Talk-episode successfully organized in Martin Chautari on Wednesday, February 27, 2013 among the enthusiastic biotech graduates and scientists from different renowned organizations such as Kathmandu University, SAAN International, White House International Sanpo International Corporation, Japan, and Department of Plant Resource under Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation, Nepal. The talk program was entitled: “Commercialization of plant tissue culture technology”.

The chief guests of the program was Mr. Hari Krishna Saiju (plant tissue culturist) and Mrs. Amira Dali (International Business Management officer associated with Sanpo International Corporation, Japan) – one of the few renowned figures in Nepal who have devoted their entire life contributing to the Nepali society with the available plant resources and making it one of the sustainable business through research work.

The talk show was opened by Mr. Saiju – one of the leading plant tissue culturists of Nepal who had invented and introduced “Sand Rooting Technology” in plant in Nepal – one of the groundbreaking technologies in the field of plant science that has made the world owe on that particular achievement. The technology made the world jaw-dropped because the technology made plant grow their roots in sand which didn’t contain any form of growth hormones such as auxin or delicate environmental conditions necessary for generating root – it rather contained just clean moist sand from Godawari river.

The very technique was universally accepted and got publication in various international journals on plant research after the technique was approved by researchers from US and Japan – including Professor Murasakami from Okinawa University, Japan who once visited Nepal during 1970-1980 and took the sand sample from Godawari to investigate possible nutritive materials that was thought might be inducing rooting in plant. However, researchers didn’t find anything other than just moist sand which has contributed so magnificently – and that was really hard to believe and accept. However, unfortunately, researchers in Nepal failed to patent the technique due to fund crunch – required for processing patenting work in US. And, later, the technique was made available free of cost for the society – a paragon of philanthropic work by Nepali scientists.

The gist of the talk program reiterated on the fact that Nepal is rich in natural resources and there is a tremendous scope if research works on plant resources is to be taken seriously, especially on tea, potato, wheat, maize, banana and some other cash crops. Because of the lack of proper business-oriented tissue culture labs in Nepal and the reluctance of Nepal government towards research work, current cash crops are on the verge of aging and it needs serious attention to rejuvenate it.

Yes, of course, there are some stymies that might be trying to stumble work, but it is not impossible! While Nepal is under the transition phase which seems unceasing for the time being with surmounting load-shedding hours in addition, it is obvious that it might be somewhat disheartening to those who are seriously giving it a thought. But, the current growing demand for tissue-cultured tea plants in Nepal is so overwhelming that once it is initiated it will surpass all those stymies.

The handful of tissue culture labs in Nepal has just not been able to cope with the growing demand of tissue-cultured banana plants, virus-free potato and few ornamental plants which are also being exported elsewhere in the world. Mrs. Dali reiterated on the fact that, Nepal is still importing potatoes from Bhutan and India, but surprisingly only the Nepal’s homegrown potatoes are the only that are virus free – which has been developed by the researchers in Nepal. And, unfortunately, it will taint the current virus-free potatoes of Nepal in future. Additionally, current research on wheat has shown that Nepal’s wheat is only free of leaf-rust disease in South Asian region.

Finally, the talk show ended successfully with a hope that Nepal still have tremendous potential and ample of research fields to develop on cash-crops and ornamental plants that can be turned into a sustainable business with a R&D in the background for continuous upbringing of aging Nepal crops and plants.


Q. How sustainable is the area of plant tissue culture in Nepal?

We have to accept the fact that it will not be garnering money overnight, but since cultured plants have huge demand when it comes especially in tea and banana market, it is one of the most lucrative businesses in Nepal. But, you have to hold your heart for at least few years before it starts to bear fruits.

Believe in yourself

You know what?, this world is too weird and hard to comprehend what they try to convey. Their meanings are always hazy, incomprehensible and senseless bizarre — but, this is not generalization!

The thing is, when you take up something on your own, when you start something what people think is bizarre, they will poke you, make fun of you, think that you are one those stupid person who don’t have anything else to do than to take something up which is undoable, unreachable, or simply which is not for your-kind-of-thing. But, if you stick to it, believe in yourself and believe in the fact that no labor goes unnoticed and no tries go unrewarded, believe me, one day the same person will come to praise you.

So, always stick to what you really believe in, stick to what your gut says it will be paid off one day, stick to your sense of positivity. Don’t let either your own or somebody’s else word of negativity govern you and their word of negativity guide you. You are your own king, you don’t need somebody’s else permission to choose and follow what you truly believe in, and you have the right to make decisions for your life whatsoever it is.

The day will come and you will be RECOGNIZED and your work, your dedication, your perseverance will be ACKNOWLEDGED!

Good luck to you all — all those who truly believe in themselves and never changed their decision just because somebody else think that they are prima donna!!

Imbroglio of scientific world

|By Rajesh Chaudhary

Just nearly a week ago, the entire scientific world wake up in a frenzy. It has been marked as one of the memorable day in the scientific world when the news about “human stem cell line through cloning” resurfaced throughout the world creating a huge buzz – the day was so significant and it holds meaning for its daring job. It has once again made it clear that the world of cloning is not fading away doesn’t matter how hard the religious sentiments are being crushed time and again and how many times they are being challenged for what they preach.

When you enter into a real scientific world, you will feel the need of knowledge in research ethics. When we entered into our research work, we were not allowed to start our lab and touch anything until and unless we were made sure through classes, seminars and other activities along with the exam on research ethics to make sure we were not going to bungle it up once we start our full-fledged lab work.

The fact of getting conversant with the ethical guidelines before getting into the research work can’t be discounted. But, the confusion arises on the way. There had been, and there are still, unattended issues of whether or not ethical guidelines has to be implemented as strictly as it has been suggested. The reason is ethical guidelines are still not clear and it leaves researchers in lurch thinking whether to proceed or to leave the work which took time, money and all those years  of perseverance.

The news about the revolutionary cloning of sheep, The Dolly Sheep” in 1996 has long gone, but it has left a sense of apprehension and confusion pertaining to the fact that whether we are destined to doom our own existence while longing for our godly attempt – to create a new individual from the existing one – THE CLONE! 

Recent groundbreaking discovery on “Human stem cell lines through cloning” is one of those buzzing news which has created a huge outcry in the scientific world not just because it has surpassed its limit to go beyond what is usually ethically permitted but also because of some of its errors that was crept in during its zipping attempt to publish paper in the journal Cell.

Though this groundbreaking discovery has its potential to turn the table to those who preach the strict laws governing ethical issues taking into account of its potentiality to find one of those desperate answers to the disease such as “Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy”, and to create perfectly match tissues that might be a answer for the disease ranging from diabetes to Parkinson’s disease along with and other “mitochondrial-related diseases”; there still have been comments from the critics calling it a “barbaric” attempt while other terming it as “terrible injustice”.

The reasons was that during this procedure one has to go through three steps: egg donation, embryo destruction and cloning – all of which is unethical because for egg donation a women has to pass through procedures which have uninvited consequences.

It is also quite understandable that for every big achievement of whatsoever kind have a price we have to pay. We must have to take the lead and challenge what is being discouraged. I think the ethics stymieing the progress of research work involving stem cells has to take a back seat at least for a while rather than making issues with each and every groundbreaking discovery. It’s a high time to think about it rationally and give some space to those who are really seriously attempting to salvage from the diseases engrossing the entire humanity.