Investigating the potential of novel non-woven fabrics for efficient pollination control in plant breeding

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Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0204728
JournalPLoS One
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sep 2018
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Article Authors Metrics Comments Media Coverage Abstract Introduction Materials & methods Results and discussion Discussion Supporting information Acknowledgments References Reader Comments (0) Media Coverage (0) Figures Abstract Plant breeding is achieved through the controlled self- or cross-pollination of individuals and typically involves isolation of floral parts from selected parental plants. Paper, cellulose or synthetic materials are used to avoid self pollination or cross contamination. Low seed set limits the rate of breeding progress and increases costs. We hypothesized that a novel ‘non-woven’ fabric optimal for both pollination and seed set in multiple plant species could be developed. After determining the baseline pollen characteristics and usage requirements we established iterative three phase development and biological testing. This determined (1) that white fabric gave superior seed return and informed the (2) development of three non-woven materials using different fibre and layering techniques. We tested their performance in selfing and hybridisation experiments recording differences in performance by material type within species. Finally we (3) developed further advanced fabrics with increased air permeability and tested biological performance. An interaction between material type and species was observed and environmental decoupling investigated, showing that the non-woven fabrics had superior water vapour transmission and temperature regulation compared to controls. Overall, non-woven fabrics outperformed existing materials for both pollination and seed set and we found that different materials can optimize species-specific, rather than species-generic performance