At the same time, researchers are testing the second generation of flax for resistance to external factors. This research is under the supervision of Belarusian scientist Konstantin Korolev.
“We already have some results: the first mutant generations were bred using Phosphamidum, and there is a difference between them and the original samples,” said Konstantin. “We also got material that we will study in the field to evaluate the effect of this chemical agent on flax”.
This year, postdoc Korolev plans to visit several international scientific conferences where he will share his experience of testing plant sensitivity to various factors using the state-of-the-art equipment in the biotechnology and microbiology research laboratory.
The first year of research showed that flax takes root easily in Siberia. Qualitative analysis of the second generation’s fibre has allowed the research team to select the most resistant samples for further study: in 2019, the third generation of mutants will build on this initial success in determining the quality evaluation criteria of the material obtained.
“Controlling temperature and humidity helps us to select drought-, frost- and disease-resistant, salt-tolerant plants in early ontogenesis,” commented Nina Bome, Professor from the Department of Botany and Biotechnology, UTMN Institute of Biology.
These experiments on flax are part of a UTMN research trend, due to which the X-Bio Institute of Environmental and Agricultural Biology has been established.
In their constant search for new, interesting species, UTMN botanists cultivate plants from various corners of the world. Some of them are able to withstand severe weather and environmental conditions successfully, which means they can be used for cultivating new resistant crop species. Kristina Kramar, master’s student from the Institute of Biology, said she participates in the research to influence the future:
“The climate is changing, global warming is causing droughts in a number of Russian regions… We want to make a contribution to the selection of new species, tolerant to extreme conditions”.
The usefulness of flax cannot be overestimated; it is especially important to conduct such research in Siberia, since agriculture is moving north due to climate change and crops need to be adapted to the harsher Siberian climate. In May, the scientists will plant the new generation of flax in the Kuchak field station to select the most resistant specimens grown in natural conditions.