Research Center of Genetic Resources, NARO

Succeeded in avoiding the loss of landrace "Banshu shiro mizuna" suitable for the regional environment of Hyogo prefecture

-Toward the succession of local food culture and the development of local communities-

National Agriculture and Food Research Organization(NARO) and Farmers Factory, an agricultural enterprise, has succeeded in avoiding the loss "Banshu shiro mizuna(Potherb Mustard)" from Hyogo prefecture. "Banshu shiro mizuna" is a landrace of Brassica rapa that has been inherited from generation to generation in Hyogo Prefecture. However, in recent years it has not been cultivated and it was about to lost due to lack of seeds to germinate. "Banshu shiro mizuna" can be produced again with the seeds harvested this time. This result is expected to lead to the succession of local food culture and the development of local communities.

Overview

The landrace of mizuna in Hyogo Prefecture, "Banshu shiro mizuna" was on the verge of disappearing. Hence, NARO and the Farmers Factory have sprouted a few remaining old "Banshu shiro mizuna" seeds and have succeeded in harvesting its new seeds.

In recent years, the conservation of landraces have been regarded as an urgent issue not only in Japan but all over the world. NARO is promoting the collection and preservation of landraces in Japan through the Genebank Project. In June 2021, the conservation status of landraces in Hyogo prefecture were investigated. It has become clear that the native mizuna varieties "Banshu shiro mizuna" inherited in Taka town are on the verge of disappearing. Farmers Factory, an agricultural enterprise that promotes self-seeding and organic vegetable production centered on landraces of Hyogo prefecture in Taka town, tried to cultivate "Banshu shiro mizuna" using seeds harvested more than 10 years ago in order to inherit to the community. However, the remaining seeds were less active and did not germinate when sown in the field.

Therefore, NARO and Farmers Factory started to germinate old seeds of "Banshu shiro mizuna" in a sterile environment. The seed coats were lysed and sterilized so that the seed can absorb enough water for germination, and then by sowing on an agar medium containing the nutrients necessary for plant growth, an environment in which even seeds with reduced activity can germinate is created. As a result, we have succeeded in germinating about 50 seeds. Later, we were able to transplant the grown seedlings into the soil and continue cultivating them to obtain new seeds. From this research result, along with the conservation of biodiversity, the preservation of "Banshu shiro mizuna" for posterity is expected to lead to the succession of local food culture and the development of local communities. In the future, Farmers Factory will continue to cultivate "Banshu shiro mizuna" and sell it. Also, NARO will store the seeds of "Banshu shiro mizuna" in the Genebank.


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