Since its inception in 2007 by the Council of Agriculture (COA), Executive Yuan, the AgTech Program has completed 100 projects which industrialized and commercialized the know-how achieved by the same. It is estimated that for each NT Dollar that the government spent in subsidy would in turn result in an average of NTD 1.49 direct investment from the industry and yield NTD 6.12 worth of production value. Moreover, the derivative investments that come from the enterprises are over NTD 1.8 billion. Among these cases is Young Sun Horticulture Co., Ltd. and its project dedicated to the development of a seedling production system for the polyploidy variety from interspecific hybridization between kalanchoe, poinsettia, and Euphorbia milii. The project has successfully bred varieties of kalanchoe(with multiple branches), poinsettia, and Euphorbia milii (thornless or with soft thorn). In this project a nucleic acid test were developed for plants which lays the foundation for the establishment of a healthy seedling production when combined with current cutting propagation production system.
Increasing flower breeding capacity while cultivating rare varieties
The COA stated that the project focuses on the 3 aforementioned varieties for their big market share and their importance as ornamental plants. Since the stock plants of these varieties are all imported from abroad, the cultivation is not only costly but also poses risks for dependency and quarantine. Therefore, determined to find localized varieties with market potential, Young Sun developed around 20 new varieties of kalanchoe through polyploidization, interspecific hybridization, and embryo rescue techniques, which resulted in characteristics such as: diverse flower colors, 1.5cm-2cm flower diameter, xerophytic and heat tolerance properties, and adapts to subtropical climate. As for poinsettia, at least 2 new varieties are bred, which are tetraploids resulted from interspecific hybridization. They present vibrant pinkish colors and big bracts. Their twigs not only are not splited easily but also pest resistant. Finally, there is the Euphorbia milii, which is even more difficult to cultivate. It went through various embryo rescue procedures before being successfully cultivated. There are currently 4 new varieties including the completely thornless ‘SNOW EMPRESS’, which also present characteristics such as fast growth and highly competitive.
Floral disease prevention is crucial for ensuring healthy seedling production of new varieties
The COA pointed out that the project has simultaneously established the tissue culture system for the flower plantlets in question and has also developed 4 principal virus detection techniques in collaboration with academic institutions specialized in plant virus nucleic acid test technology. Presently, healthy seedling production procedure has been planned to preserve and reproduce the sterile virus-free stock plant of the new varieties. Young Sun has announced that the two prominent varieties, poinsettia ‘ROSE STAR’ and Euphorbia milii ‘SNOW EMPRESS’ are currently under the protection of Plant Variety Protection Program, and that all newly bred varieties are in the process of mass production. In addition to proceeding with trial production and sales of the new varieties, the company has also engaged in on-going business talks with both domestic and foreign farmers and businesses. The objective is to provide farmers with reasonably priced seedlings through the development of locally bred novel flower varieties, while simultaneously apply for plant variety right abroad so that the commercial values of the project results can be protected; thus further elevate the competitiveness and exposure of Taiwan’s floral industry on the international arena.