Agave Pollen Experiments

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agavedave
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Agave Pollen Experiments

Post by agavedave » Tue May 21, 2019 4:24 pm

Hi folks,

I currently have a fairly big lophantha building up steam but not sure if it will bolt this year or not. The leaves in the center are getting smaller and thinner, lost all of their marginal teeth and there seems to be a bulge forming at their base. I'll post some pics once I have it outside at the weekend.

I just read another post regarding very little on the forum about other succulents. So here is some of my recent activity on the subject of pollen freezing. I'm quite happy to share this stuff if there is the interest.

This doc below details experiments and observations of pollen germination following storage in a domestic freezer. I will update it sometime in the future as more data becomes available together with pics of some hybrids. If someone comes back to me with a way to post it directly on here, I'm happy to do that.

The doc is a pdf of about 7Mb so I have uploaded it to google drive. You should be able to view it online or download it for later viewing. I would be grateful for any feedback or comments from anyone else has dabbled in this.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1YI58I ... tJr0UPMb4w

Edit: just changed the link to allow comments

Best regards
Dave
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MalcolmP2
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Re: Agave Pollen Experiments

Post by MalcolmP2 » Tue May 21, 2019 10:01 pm

agavedave wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 4:24 pm
You should be able to view it online or download it for later viewing. I would be grateful for any feedback or comments from anyone else has dabbled in this.
Thank you, downloaded and reading,
fascinating stuff and today I learned a new word "an osmoticum" (my speelchucker doesnt know it either !)

I have read of the onion skin method before (micscape article) but not yet got the roundtuit so not able to add any substantive comment. Except :- have you seen the price of lithium chloride on the uk ebay ! Heck !!

I may have to get one of my microscopes out of retirement ;)
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Re: Agave Pollen Experiments

Post by agavedave » Wed May 22, 2019 11:45 am

Lithium Chloride £61 for 500 g on VWR, yes it's not cheap, one reason to use what you can find in the kitchen cupboard if it will do the job.

A kg of Calcium Chloride on Amazon is £3.78
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kilrock-DAMPCL ... B00T4OCW0E

Another cheap way if you have a reliable hygrometer is to buy a big bag of silica gel cat litter from Wilco's, dry it off in the oven at ~105°C for an hour and then equilibrate it to the target %RH you need and the use about a 10:1 excess compared to what you are drying. As the humidity creeps over your target just mix in a little more of the completely dry stuff. I use this method to dry seeds to 20% RH for long term storage. A bit of a faff but it works.

Best Regards
Dave
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MalcolmP2
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Re: Agave Pollen Experiments

Post by MalcolmP2 » Wed May 22, 2019 12:26 pm

yes, noted the calcium chloride, but what to do if one wanted the lower humidity of lithium for some reason ! :- move to the USA where it is $5/30g on their ebay !!
agavedave wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 11:45 am
silica gel ,,,then equilibrate it to
You lost me there, I'll have to think about that.
I didnt know cat litter was silica gel!
I have lots of ex-laboratory silica gel, including self indicating (cobalt chloride I think cos it is that old) so no prob there, from my days of storing heritage veg. seeds.

Idle thought : DHT11/22 hygrometer sensors + flap valve between two chambers + arduino.
and I have the bits already, waiting for another project :)

so many projects, so little time
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agavedave
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Re: Agave Pollen Experiments

Post by agavedave » Wed May 22, 2019 1:49 pm

The silica gel trick is used by museums to control humidity in display cases, Just like mixing hot and cold water. It relies on having a large excess conditioned to the target humidity so that any residual moisture and seepage into the case doesn't have much effect on the equilibrium RH in the short term. Eventually the silica gel will need reconditioning.

https://www.wilko.com/en-uk/wilko-silic ... /p/0433627 (other products are available)
There are usually some blue crystals in there, not sure why as they aren't impregnated with cobalt, I just pick them out and bin them.

For pollen at least ~30% RH seems to give the right moisture content by weight for freezing.

Your idea should work, some commercial dryers use air conditioning to dry the air and then mix/circulate it through the drying chamber.

Best Regards
Dave
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