VegetUP developed by Olomouc scientists to increase the yields of fruit vegetables

Photo: Radoslav Koprna
Monday 6 April 2020, 11:38 – Text: Martina Šaradínová

A hydroponic preparation that increases yields by five to ten percent has been developed by scientists from the Centre of the Region Haná for Biotechnological and Agricultural Research (CRH), which brings together the scientific teams of the UP Faculty of Science and the Olomouc branches of the Institute of Experimental Botany of the Czech Academy of Sciences and the Crop Research Institute. The preparation derived from plant hormones, cytokinins, can now be purchased by growers under the name VegetUP.

“The preparation increases the production of fruit vegetables and at the same time delays the ageing of plants, so they can grow more evenly throughout their vegetation. It also helps plants to better cope with temperature fluctuations,” said one of the authors, Radoslav Koprna from CRH. Together with him, other colleagues from the Department of Chemical Biology at CRH and the Laboratory of Growth Regulators, which is a joint workplace of the UP Faculty of Science and the Institute of Experimental Botany, participated in the development of this substance.

The product was registered in February by the Central Institute for Supervising and Testing in Agriculture, which confirmed not only its effectiveness, but also its safety for the environment and its production. Under the name VegetUp, it has been included in the database of fertilisers and auxiliary products for hydroponic cultivation, i.e. cultivation without soil, which has been booming in recent years. Since only a very small amount of this new type of solution is needed, CRH employees are able to prepare it for the interested parties on their own.

“While other substances need micromolar amounts, in this case there are nanomolar amounts added into large volumes of water. The recommended dilution is in millilitres per tens of thousands of litres of water. Those interested can contact us; we have also started to address large agricultural companies. I am not aware of any similar substance on the market,” added Koprna.

Eight years ago, Olomouc researchers began testing the effects of the plant hormones cytokinins in plant watering and spraying in collaboration with the Fosfa company. In the past, cytokinin derivatives were used, for example, in the Aucyt Start fertiliser, which promotes the formation of strong offshoots and thus ears and grains in cereals and branching in oilseeds; or in Salis, which is a preparation intended for seed staining in a wide range of crops such as spring or winter cereals, rapeseed, poppy, sunflower, legumes, etc.

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