LISSE/HEERHUGOWAARD, the Netherlands (July 27, 2018) — Dümmen Orange, in collaboration with IribovSBW, has developed a new method to significantly speed up the propagation of tulip bulbs. The tissue culture method increases the multiplication rate of a single tulip bulb from three to several thousand per year. This ground-breaking result brings new opportunities for the tulip sector.
After the acquisition of Hobaho by Dümmen Orange two years ago, the existing collaboration with IribovSBW has intensified to speeding up bulb propagation. The newly developed laboratory-based propagation process uses starting material from one single tulip bulb. After about one year, the tissue culture-derived small bulbs were allowed to further develop in a soil mixture to get to bulb sizes ready for flowering. Last spring successful flowering trials took place in the open field at the Hobaho Testcentrum Siergewassen (Ornamental Crops Trial Centre) in Lisse, the Netherlands.
Universities, research institutes and commercial laboratories have been working on speeding up the propagation of tulip bulbs for many decades. At present the average multiplication factor of a flower bulb is three per growing season, a figure that has barely risen at all since the introduction of the tulip in the 16th century. As a result, the development of a new commercial assortment and sustainable cultivation has been a very slow process up to now.
Hans van den Heuvel, managing director of R&D Dümmen Orange says, “A breeding process that takes more than 20 years is not an effective way of responding to changes in consumer and market needs. This revolutionary breakthrough drastically changes the dynamics of the tulip breeding process that eventually should not take longer than six to seven years. It gives us a good competitive edge and the confidence that we and our partners can add value in this important product group.”
Eloy Boon, founder and CEO of IribovSBW says, "We are proud of this first result from our research program into crops that are difficult to propagate. Our interactive working relationship with Dümmen Orange has enabled everything to happen at high speed. We are still investigating how the tulip propagation process can be further optimized and are preparing implementation on a commercial scale."
Foeke Gardenier, general manager of Hobaho by Dümmen Orange says, "There is an urgent need in the sector for the rapid introduction of new cultivars with unique ornamental and horticultural value and traits that promotes sustainable cultivation. This technology will make that happen. I am proud to be part of the team that brought this breakthrough."