VietNamNet Bridge – Professor Nguyen Quang Thach is the first scientist who successfully researched and applied aeroponic technology to growing and propagating natural disease-free potatoes in Vietnam, opening up the prospect for developing the agricultural sector in a modern, green and sustainable direction.
Prof. Nguyen Quang Thach (March 2012).
Aeroponics is a new achievement in the agricultural field. It began in the early 80s and started developing strongly in the early 21st century. Thanks to the technology, for the first time human beings have a method of growing plants without using soil.
The basic principle of aeroponic technology is to grow plants by spraying the plant’s dangling roots and lower stems with an atomized or sprayed, nutrient-rich water solution.
Unlike geoponics – the traditional method of growing plants in soil or hydroponics which uses water as a growing medium and essential minerals to sustain plant growth, aeroponics is conducted without a growing medium.
The main ecological advantages of aeroponics are the conservation of water and energy. It helps reduce 90% of water, 95% of fertilizers and 99% of pesticides, bringing about a high yield and natural healthy plants and crops.
When aeroponic technology was applied to agricultural production, it immediately attracted much attention from scientists and researchers around the world. The US, South Korea and Australia, have kept aeroponic technology a secret so other countries find it difficult to use.
Like other scientists in the world, Prof. Nguyen Quang Thanh, Head of the Science Council, Institute of Biotechnology at Ha Noi University of Agriculture, also paid special attention to this technology. He spent many years keeping track of and researching the technology.
In the early 2000s he successfully applied aeroponics to growing and propagating natural disease-free potatoes, ushering in a new direction in agricultural production in Vietnam.
We met Prof. Thach while he was working with a delegation of experts from the German Research Centre for Cultivated Plants in the area where potatoes are grown using aeroponic technology of the Institute of Biotechnology.
The German experts visited Vietnam to learn about aeroponics in Vietnam and coordinate with a scientist group led by Prof. Thach to research and create a new potato variety that is able to resist late blight disease caused by Phytophthora infestans (Mont) de Baky.
Prof. Thach said that in the near future this garden will provide hundreds of thousand of natural disease-free and high quality seed potatoes which serve as the original set of seed potatoes for production in Vietnam.
He also said that due to the application of aeroponics he and his colleagues would take the initiative in controlling the growth and the formation of bulbs of potatoes so the number of bulbs can reach from 15-200/plant, depending on the variety of potatoes, compared to 5-10 /plant using traditional methods. It is considered a breakthrough in producing original seed potatoes.
Talking with us about his career, Prof. Thach said: “I have engaged in researching potatoes as if I had some predestined love. I was sent to study at the University of Orsay in Paris, France, where I was taught by Prof. R.Nozerance the technique on implanting potato tissues.
Then when I studied in Germany I was guided by Prof. G.Wenzel on the techniques of selecting and creating potato varieties using plotplast fusion. Since then, my life has been closely attached to researching the technology of multiplying and creating potato varieties.”
Another lucky thing that happened to Prof. Thach was that he directly learned the secrets from the founder of aeroponics, Dr. Stoner from the University of Colorado, the US and Dr. Chang D.C., a researcher of multiplying potatoes using aeroponics in South Korea.
In 2006 Prof. Thach officially carried out a state-level project under the national bio-technology programme themed “Research to Master Aeroponics and Setting Up a Bio-Industrial Model for Producing Disease-free Potato, Vegetable and Flower Varieties”.
After four years of working hard with his colleagues, in 2010 the project was checked and taken over with excellent achievements.
Success followed success, and Prof. Thach has applied aeroponics to multiplying and germinating many varieties of plants, including carnations, dahlias and herbal plants.
With great efforts, Prof. Thach has made an outstanding contribution to the successful application of aeroponics in agricultural production to build an advanced, clean, green and sustainable agricultural sector in Vietnam.
Prof. Nguyen Quang Thach was born in 1943. He studied in France and Germany. He is now Head of the Science Council of the Institute of Biotechnology at Hanoi University of Agriculture, Deputy Chairman of the Association of Bio Branches in Vietnam, Deputy Chairman cum General Secretary of the Vietnam Association of Potatoes and a member of the Consulting Board of the Asian Federation of Biotechnology.
In 2008, he was awarded second prize of the Vietnam Scientific and Technological Innovation of the Viet Nam Fund for Supporting Technological Creations (VIFOTEC).
Prof. Thach introduces German experts to aeroponic technology in Vietnam.
Prof. Thach gives a lecture on biotechnology to postgraduate students.
Prof. Nguyen Quang Thach and his students in a greenhouse where
plants are grown using the aeroponic technology of the Institute of
Biotechnology, Hanoi University of Agriculture.
Prof. Thach checks seed samples in the lab of the Institute of Biotechnology.
Instructing young colleagues in the lab of the Institute of Biotechnology.