Green bamboo shoots are in season! Using healthy seedlings for farmers produce good bamboo shoots.

Green bamboo shoots are in season!
Using healthy seedlings for farmers produce good bamboo shoots.

Green bamboo (Bambusa oldhamii), known as green timber bamboo, is one of the most important summer vegetables in Taiwan. The very young green shoots are edible, and as regarded as a culinary delicacy in Taiwan. The annual production season for green bamboo shoots begins around the Qing Ming Festival from early June to July. Green bamboo shoots are rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals but low in calories, which in line with the food demand of the people right now.

Green bamboo shoots are so delicious but somehow it is not easy to cultivate those for farmers. The bamboo mosaic disease caused by bamboo mosaic virus (BaMV) is a serious problem for the bamboo industry in Taiwan for a long time. Symptoms in infected-bamboo include mosaic patterns on the leaves which run parallel with the veins, necrotic streaking on the shoots and stems. Necrotic tissues (brown to black spots or streaks) in green bamboo shoots become woody (lignified), resulting in reducing quality of green bamboo shoots and farmers' incomes.

BaMV is easily mechanically transmitted by contaminated tools used for propagation or harvesting like knifes or hoes. Overly tight spacing between bamboos, virus could be transmitted by leaf friction or root-to-root contact. Seedlings produced from BaMV-infected bamboo mother stocks spread bamboo mosaic disease easily through long-distance movement. As a result of the above, the bamboo mosaic disease incidence is up to 80% in bamboo plantations in Taiwan.

The most effective method to control the occurrence of bamboo mosaic disease and produce high-quality green-bamboo shoots is to renew diseased bamboos by planting healthy seedlings for whole farm. For providing healthy green bamboo seedlings stably, Taiwan Seed Improvement and Propagation Station (abbreviation as TSIPS) applied tissue culture technology combined with virus detection technologies to quantify BaMV-free green bamboo seedlings. TSIPS also developed an acclimatisation process of tissue cultured plantlets to supply a large number of healthy and BaMV-free green bamboo seedlings.

At present, the whole set of above-mentioned technology has been transferred to professional farmers by technology transfer, allowing them to build the BaMV-free green bamboo seedlings propagation nursery. In the future, the domestic BaMV-free green bamboo seedlings propagation and supply chain will be improved to ensure the quality of green bamboo shoots!