"Botanica Pop Ltd. is a Brazilian company established in the year 2000 and specialized in biodiversity prospection and management for innovation through classical breeding, with the development of new products to the world market.
Genetic erosion is destroying very fast the natural biodiversity accumulated during millions of years of life on Earth and the agrobiodiversity created in thousands of years of human history. Germplasm banks work to keep part of that enormous amount of genes and their alleles, but on-farm activities are fundamental to preserve and develop wild species and domesticated plant genotypes.
Nowadays, increasing resources are being invested in monocultures - recently with the genomics technologies support - what promote the genetic losses, converting natural areas and local communities into homogeneous and simplified business. Graduate students and researchers from governmental organizations and private companies are paying more attention to the new biotechnology advances other than the study of biodiversity potential and conventional genetics in vivo. At the same time, organic farming and polyculture are getting more recognized as sustainable practices of land use, with a great opportunity for innovation in biology and agronomy fields.
The BOTANICA POP mission is to increase biodiversity indexes in cultivated areas, expanding polyculture technologies and the number of cultivars worldwide, promoting the diversification of fresh food options in the market as much as economic opportunities from plant cultivation in local communities.
To amplify the genetic base of conventional breeding, hundreds of new species have been introduced into cultivation and old traditional varieties were collected to create the Botanica Pop’s original germplasm bank, now with over 30,000 accessions. Crosses between nonelite, old traditional varieties, and the introgression of wild genotypes into cultivated selected ones are methods utilized to reach exclusive gene pools in different tropical plant families. That process was designed to promote innovation in the market and to offer producers around the world new, original, more rustic, differentiated NON-GMOs cultivars obtained through classical genetics.
As fresh water is more and more a valuable resource, and dry regions are expanding very fast in our planet with all the human impacts and the climatic change, Botanica Pop Ltd. chose CAM metabolism varieties as the focus of its activities of biodiversity use and development. Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) photosynthesis is the carbon fixation pathway that evolved in some plants as an adaptation to arid conditions and is the most efficient natural process to use water in biomass production in the plant kingdom.
Specialized in tropical agriculture and horticulture, with two distinct facilities in Rio de Janeiro, adding over a hectare of greenhouses and ten hectares of irrigated sandy fields, the company have been developing genetic resources of neotropical families, as Bromeliaceae and Cactaceae, introducing in greenhouses new wild species, making thousands of hand pollination crosses, selecting, testing and developing new clonal varieties for fruit, flower, natural fibers and pharmaceutical industries. Polyculture in tropical dry climates has been testing in innovating models mainly in Quissamã county Botanica Pop’s farm, located 250 km North of Rio de Janeiro city limits.
The main breeding programs in the company are the Red Pineapple 'Puã' new fruit and the ‘Mandacaru’ Cereus cactus forage. Using extensive germplasm banks, that cover different genera inside the gene pool of each group, the programs reached the 9th generation since 1989 and more than 70.000 exclusive new genotypes were obtained and have been valued.
Botanica Pop Ltd. has institutional partnerships with UENF - Universidade Estadual do Norte Fluminense and JBRJ - Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro, and have been supported in research, development & innovation projects by FAPERJ - Fundação de Apoio à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro and FINEP - Agência Brasileira de Inovação, from state and federal governments.
MAPA, BNDES, FIRJAN and SEBRAE institutions also have been contributing significantly for the Botanica Pop Ltd. purposes.
The botanist Pedro Nahoum - founder and CEO of BOTANICA POP Ltd., have been promoting since 1986 assisted reproduction of native plants, grew from seed in tropical conditions close to the Atlantic Forest on the coast of Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil. Bachelor of ecology from Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Nahoum did his specialization in Biodiversity Management in the National School of Tropical Botany – ENBOT / MMA and has two bromeliad species named after him: Alcantarea nahoumii Leme, from Bahia state, Brazil, and Connellia nahoumii Leme, from Bolívar state, Venezuela."