- Pear trees are successfully fertilized by the Japanese researchers using pollens carried on a thin film of suds.
- The project was studied as an alternative due to declination of the bees’ worldwide population.
Science and technology has a lot of activities going on since the beginning of civilization. It is proven that science sent our cultures far from our ancestors and it is also not a secret that our resources are gradually decreasing as we learn a new step ahead. In this case, bees’ worldwide population decrement is now a threat.
Japanese researchers have been studying alternative methods to pollination in order to sustain bees’ population. After firing a bubble gun, the gentle foamy circles achieved a 95% success rate. Because of the idea, the researchers are now testing drones that shoot bubbles for pollination.
With the reduction of bee statistics over the past period of ten years, researchers have been studying different methods as a key step in the production of many fruits and vegetables.
The Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology’s Dr. Eijiro Miyako had previously conducted examinations about the ability of a drone as a pollen courier – but despite having just a two-centimeter length, the drone still manages to destroy the flowers in the course.
One day, he saw his young son playing in a local park and Dr. Miyako had a bright idea of what to do next. He said that he was playing soap bubbles with his son when a bubble accidentally hit his son’s face.
There was no damage because the soap bubbles are soft, light and flexible
he added. He got an inspiration because he thought that suds won’t damage the flowers due to its delicateness and that it would be an ideal instrument for pollination.
Dr. Miyako confiscated the bubble solution, causing his son to start throwing tantrums and asking to buy more bubbles. He then tested the bubble in the lab and he was able to confirm via optical microscopy that soap bubbles have the ability to carry pollen.
As soon as Dr. Miyako realized that most orthodox soaps would be toxic for plants, he developed a “chemically functionalized” soap bubble that could each bring up to 2000 pollen grains. Dr. Miyako and his team loaded up their bubble guns to test the project’s feasibility at a pear orchard.
It is said that due to the bees’ absence, some pollination activity is now done by hand using feather brushes. Dr. Miyako tried shooting lathers onto the trees and young fruits began to form a few after 16 days.
The said process’s output is equivalent to hand pollination.
Success rate of both processes were approximately 95% and there was no substantial difference as well. Even the shape and size of young pear fruits made from soap bubble pollination look exactly the same as fruits made from hand pollination.
The only difference is the potential that can be provided by soap bubble pollination in terms of future automation.
On the contrary, the technique creates a lot of waste and the environmental factors such as wind and rain can ruin efforts to pollinate.
Nevertheless, researchers of science choose optimism.