Critical Factors Affecting Ex Vitro Performance of Somatic Embryo Plants of Picea abies

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The potential to use somatic embryos for large-scale propagation of elite genotypes, for integration into breeding programmes and for connecting breeding and mass propagation, is receiving much attention. However, before the methods are applied it is important that the plants regenerated via somatic embryogenesis grow as expected, i.e. as seedlings or cuttings. Growth of somatic embryo plants is under a cumulative influence of a number of treatments given during the in vitro phase and during the ex vitro establishment phase. The aim of this study was to identify treatments with a negative influence on the subsequent growth of somatic embryo plants of Norway spruce (Picea abies L. Karst.). Based on the results, the time of contact with abscisic acid during somatic embryo maturation and the length of continuous light treatment (CLT) during the first growth period strongly affect the height growth during two successive growth periods. In both cases longer treatments exerted negative effects. Based on these results a new method was set up, which includes: (1) prematuration treatment of the suspension culture in a growth regulator-free medium, by which the maturation step is synchronized and contracted; and (2) a two-phase germination treatment, first on a solidified medium and then in a liquid medium. This treatment avoids extended CLT during the first growth period. Another advantage of the two-phase germination treatment is a better root-system development. Somatic embryo plants produced according to this method can be transferred directly from in vitro conditions to the greenhouse.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 2001

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