UNAIR NEWS – Prof. Dr. Edy Setiti Wida Utami, Dra., M.Si was officially inaugurated as 12th active professor of Faculty of Science and Technology (FST) Universitas Airlangga (UNAIR) on Saturday, December 14, 2019. The inauguration ceremony was held in Garuda Mukti Hall of UNAIR Management Office.
In her scientific oration, the professor of plant embryology conveyed her ideas and findings on the role of embryo somatic for micropropagation and preservation of plant germplasm.
As a country covering 1.3 percent of the world’s land area, Indonesia has very high biodiversity. Indonesia is claimed to have 11 percent of the world’s plant species. Increasing population, uncontrolled exploitation of forests, forest fires and increasing numbers of superior varieties resulting from plant breeding, are reducing biological wealth.
Prof. Setiti said that various approaches have been sought to preserve diversity in a sustainable manner. One of them is through in vitro preservation of plants. In vitro plant preservation has several advantages over other methods, such as saving more space, energy, costs and making germplasm exchange easier.
” In vitro plant preservation techniques is one application of in vitro culture techniques aimed at storing germplasm in the form of embryos, shoots, seeds from rare or endangered species,” explained the woman born in Sragen.
In vitro preservation, she continued, is suitable for plants with recalcitrant seed types, seeds with high water content, so they cannot be stored at low temperatures and humidity. In vitro preservation techniques can be done in three ways, short-term storage (storage in a growing state), medium-term storage (storage in minimal growth media) known as synthetic seeds and long-term storage (storage without growth) by the cryopreservation method.
Synthetic seeds and cryopreservation
In her scientific studies, Prof. Setiti uses synthetic seed technology and cryopreservation as a medium and long-term storage technique for plants. Synthetic seeds are an application in the field of biotechnology by encapsulating plant parts in artificial seed shells. The synthetic seed technique aims to make seeds easier to handle for shipment, storage and sowing so they can grow into complete plants.
“The concept of synthetic seeds mimics natural seeds containing plant parts and capsules. This effort is also improved by the ability of synthetic seeds to be stored for a certain period of time with high viability to grow well, “explained Prof. Setiti.
From an economic perspective, synthetic seed techniques can be used for mass propagation, especially for superior genotypes as seeds for monoculture plantations. Some advantages of synthetic seeds are genetic uniformity, low cost mass production, pathogen free plants, direct planting availability and as a storage medium for germplasm.
Meanwhile the cryopreservation technique is a storage technique at very low temperatures, -196 0 C in liquid nitrogen. Potential cryopreservation techniques have been developed for long-term storage of plant germplasm.
“With cryopreservation techniques, cell division and metabolic processes can be stopped so that there is no modification or change in an unlimited time. Germplasm stored by cryopreservation technique is a base collection in an in vitro gene bank, ” she said.
In the future, Prof. Setiti hoped that micropropagation research through in vitro culture can be further developed in useful plants, especially medicinal plants, energy sources, food crops, and horticultural crops so the diversity of germplasm in Indonesia can be sustained from generation to generation. (*)
Author: Zanna Afia Deswari
Editor: Binti Q. masruroh