Israeli startup leads revolution in growing plants in the lab
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In laboratories, in addition to artificial meat, it turned out that it is possible to grow plant molecules, which will contribute to the fight against climate change.
Israeli startup ReaGenics uses this technology.< br />
“We don't create complete plants in our bioreactors. We are assembling molecules that can be mass-produced in our lab without requiring large tracts of land and resources,” — said CEO Michael Kagan in a comment to ISRAEL21c.
He explained that the cultivation process starts with stem cells. Differentiated cells that have already become a leaf, stem or bud are taken from a living plant, decontaminated in the laboratory and placed in Petri dishes. Instead of regenerating into a new plant, the cells are forced to turn into stem cells, that is, undifferentiated. After that, the stem cells are placed in a bioreactor, “which allows them to be harvested continuously.”
“The amazing thing about these stem cells is that they are all viable, which means that when they are placed in a liquid medium, they multiply like bacteria,” Kagan explained.
Stem Cells are combined in a bioreactor with minerals, growth stimulants and sugar. Constant stirring prevents them from aggregating into the plant.
“We can use dried stem cells as a product — a new form of saffron — or we can extract the active, potent molecules inside the cells, like crocin and safranal,” he added.
Once they reach a high enough concentration in the flasks, the cells are transferred to bioreactors, where they increase their volume is up to an industrial scale of 1000 liters. It is clarified that plant molecules grown in the laboratory avoid problems with pesticides and chemical herbicides. When grown from stem cells, pesticides are not required, bacteria and viruses coexisting with the plant are destroyed, and harmful pests cannot enter.
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