BIOTEC-NSTDA and P Solution Company Limited recently unveiled a date palm tissue culture laboratory, the first of its kind in Thailand. The demand for fresh dates has been expanding, making it a new economic crop for Thailand. This laboratory will support the commercial production of date palm seedlings for supplying to growers at an annual production capacity of 5,000-10,000 plants. The first lot is expected this October.

As date palms are not native to Thailand, Thai growers have to rely on imported seeds and seedlings. Recognizing this gap in the date palm production, BIOTEC-NSTDA and P Solution embarked on a research collaboration to develop mass propagation technology for date palms to deliver quality seedlings at a lower price for local growers. The developed technology was then transferred to the company for commercial production.

While the tissue culture technique was developed based on the popular Barhi variety, the laboratory can support the production of other commercial varieties such as Braim and Khunaizi and even new and improved varieties created by Thai breeders in the future. Meanwhile, BIOTEC research team is developing a commercial-scale bioreactor system – a more advanced plant cell culture technology for mass propagation.