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Bob Larson Phytelligence Propagates Pt 1
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Fruit Grower Report
Date: April 11, 2018

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With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. It’s not about pest control, but the biotech plant propagation company Phytelligence may feel like they’ve built a better mouse trap.

CEO Ken Hunt says Phytelligence was founded in 2012 by Washington State University ag professor Amat Dhingra after he discovered that apple growers had unmet needs…

HUNT … “There’s a tremendous shortage of materials in this space. We can’t get our hands on enough rootstock. We can’t get our hands on enough buds of desirable varieties that we can graft to the rootstock to grow trees.”

Hunt says some of the problems came even after they got the needed rootstocks …

HUNT … “A lot of times when we do get an order in finally, you know, after all the shortage, there are mix ups in the deliveries. We don’t get the right trees shipped to us, there was mortality rates from bare root from trees having to be transplanted frequently. There’s mortality from disease and virus and all those sorts of things.”

And, Hunt says that’s when the light bulb over his head came on …

HUNT … “And so, he went back to the lab and really dusted off the decades-old technology of tissue culture and realized that originally tissue culture, the state-of-the-art at the time was really developed for tobacco, but apples are not tobacco, and systematically went about customizing tissue culture protocols for not just all apples, but every single variety of apple and rootstock.

Hunt says they also propagate for cherries, pears, berries, nuts, and others.

Listen tomorrow for more on this exciting micro-propagation technology and this growing company.

Phytelligence is also nourished by the strong, close relations between the university, its faculty, and alumni, as well as the broader agricultural community that thrives here in the Pacific Northwest.

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