Bananas grown in ice age conditions

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Gabrielle Easter

BY GABRIELLE EASTER

@gab_produceplus

Bananas grown in ice age conditions

A Japanese agri-business has successfully grown bananas using a freeze-thaw awakening method

Bananas grown in ice age conditions

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Japanese agribusiness D&T Farm’s has successfully grown bananas in a cold climate using a ‘freeze -thaw awakening’ method.

D&T Farm’s lead technical researcher, Setsuzo Tanaka, told Nikkei that bananas grow in just four months inside an experimental plastic greenhouse in western Japan.

The saplings are freezed to minus 60 degrees then thawed and planted.

Keeping the plants at a maximum daytime temperature of 13 degrees, and zero at night, the banana plants come out of hibernation and flourish.

The method is based on what Earth’s climate would have been like during the ice age, though it has been four decades of research and trials as well as ¥500m (US$4.3m) to successful grow cold climate bananas.

The farming method has caught the attention of local and international companies, with Osaka-based Air Water and a Minamikyushu –based cooperative expected to begin producing bananas using Tanaka’s seedlings, according to Nikkei.

Tanaka has also successful grown papaya, mangosteen and cashews using a similar freeze-thaw method, and has set his sights on producing wheat, soybeans and corn in Siberia.

"Siberia has an abundance of water and fertile soil," he said. "If these crops could be harvested in such a cold climate, the entire global food shortage could be resolved all at once."

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