Improving coconut cloning technology, TropAg

November 13, 2017

The Crawford Fund has generously partnered with TropAg2017 to assist 10 young researchers from developing countries attend and present their science at this international conference which will be held in Brisbane from 20-22 November 2017. Successful candidates were chosen by a selection panel made up of representatives of The Crawford Fund and the TropAg2017 conference organisers, based on submitted abstracts of their research.

In the lead-up to the conference we will be publishing short blog posts written by the young researchers about their work.

By Mr. Quang Nguyen, PhD Candidate at the University of Queensland, Australia

Quang Nguyen was born in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He gained his undergraduate and Masters’ degree in agricultural biotechnology (Gold Medal Graduation Award) from the International University, a member of Vietnam National University. With a reasonable background on orchid tissue culture, Quang started his PhD research program focusing coconut clonal propagation (coconut cloning) in 2014 at the University of Queensland, under the supervision of Prof. Steve Adkins, Mr Mike Foale, Prof. Elizabeth Aitken, and Dr Jitka Kochanek. His research skills have been enhanced significantly during his time at the University of Queensland. He has published a number of scientific papers, and given three oral presentations at international conferences as well as winning a People’s Choice Award with his research idea at an International 3-Minute Thesis Competition in Brisbane in 2016. Quang is currently committed to a book project on coconut biotechnology in collaboration with Springer Publisher.

Quang’s recent findings in improvement of coconut cloning technology have made it more reproducible and feasible on a larger scale. He has successfully developed a cloning protocol for a wide range of coconut varieties, including elite types. The cloning technology is the? ‘core’ of his innovative project. He is focusing on perfecting and scaling up this system, bypassing the traditional seed-based coconut farming. The technology hopes to provide low-income coconut planters with affordable and reliable planting materials, harnessing the unused land resources in coconut genetic diversity. At the moment, Quang is participating in an ACIAR-funded project as an associate research investigator. This research project is aiming to provide coconut tissue culture training for local researchers in the Pacific regions where rapid production of replanting materials is of paramount importance. Together with his research group’s initiative, he will play an important role bringing this research idea to life. He is now focusing on (i) perfecting the existing technology, (ii) training other researchers to implement the technology, and (iii) liaising with potential investors/sponsors to meet the urgent need of coconut replantation.