March 10, 2009

Nippon Paper Industries Succeeds in Efficient Rooting Propagation
of Pollen-Free Cedars
- To Utilize its Own Photoautotrophic Culture Technology to Accelerate the Spread of Seedlings -

Nippon Paper Group, Inc.

Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd. (President Yoshio Haga) of Nippon Paper Group, Inc., using its own unique biotechnology, succeeded in the rooting propagation of Soushun, a pollen-free cedar, which was developed by the Forest Tree Breeding Center of the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute.
Today cedar pollen allergy is considered a national affliction, one of the social issues against which action is required. Given these circumstances, the Forest Tree Breeding Center has made advances in the breeding of pollen-free cedars, leading to the development of Soushun which produced absolutely no pollen in January 2004.
In the coming years, to conquer cedar pollen allergy, it is expected that newly developed pollen-free cedar trees like Soushun will spread and actual planting will happen. To that end, plantlets must be propagated by using tissue cultures. In the traditional method of cutting propagation, a stem of at least 20cm is used as a cutting, so the number of cuttings we could take from a mother tree was limited. Since it is considered difficult to increase the numbers of a breed under development, there has been an urgent need to establish new propagation technology to boost the supply.
In the rooting propagation method using photoautotrophic culture technology (see note) which Nippon Paper Industries has developed, a stem of approximately 2cm can be used as a cutting. It means that this method results in highly-efficient propagation, allowing us to obtain nearly 100 times more stem cuttings than using the traditional method. This methodology has also been proven effective by the Forest Tree Breeding Center. Nippon Paper Industries will actively offer their expertise to other institutions which produce pollen-free cedar plantlets to disseminate this propagation method and spread the use of pollen-free cedars.
Note: Photoautotrophic culture technology
Photoautotrophic culture technology is the method of inducing the natural photosynthetic ability of the plants by applying high levels of CO2, water and light, rather than using sugar, which acts as energy, in a culture. The system is used in the biodiversity conservation activities undertaken by Nippon Paper Group, including the conservation of plants that are rare and indigenous to the Ogasawara Islands and are designated as endangered species, and also the conservation of precious cherry trees with historic value.