"It usually takes two years for bananas to grow large enough, but here, it takes around four months until they're ready," said Setsuzo Tanaka, D&T Farm's officer in charge of technical research.
The method artificially re-creates the earth's climate of 20,000 years ago by freezing banana saplings to minus 60 degrees. Once thawed, the saplings are planted.
At the time, plants would wake from a long winter hibernation as temperatures rose gradually following the end of the ice age. In the aftermath, maximum daytime temperatures were only 12 to 13 C and during the night, the mercury dropped below zero. Under such cold temperatures, banana plants came out of hibernation and flourished, meaning the originally had the ability to grow at a daytime temperature of 12 C. Now, they only grow in tropical areas.
Tanaka's dream is to develop new varieties of wheat, soy beans, and corn with improved quality through freeze-thaw awakening and grow as well as harvest them in Siberia.