Application of Cold Storage and Short In Vitro Germination for Somatic Embryos of Pinus radiata and P. sylvestris
Reeves, Cathie; Tikkinen, Mikko; Aronen, Tuija; Krajnakova, Jana (2023)
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Somatic embryogenesis (SE) is an advanced vegetative propagation technology that, when used in combination with breeding and cryopreservation, offers the forest industry a powerful tool for the deployment of elite genotypes. Germination and acclimatization are critical and cost-intensive phases in the production of somatic plants. The efficient conversion of somatic embryos into robust plants is a necessity if a propagation protocol is to be successfully adopted by the industry. In this work, these late phases of the SE protocol of two pine species were investigated. A shortened germination protocol and more controlled acclimatization were investigated for Pinus radiata, testing embryos from 18 embryogenic cell lines. A more simplified protocol, including a cold storage phase, was also compared among 10 of these cell lines. A shortened germination period and more controlled protocols significantly improved the acclimatization of somatic embryos directly from the lab to the glasshouse. When results for all cell lines were pooled, there were significant improvements in all growth characteristics (shoot height, root length, root collar diameter, and root quadrant score). When the more simplified protocol involving cold storage was tested, improvements were seen in the root architecture. For Pinus sylvestris, the late phases of somatic embryogenesis were investigated on seven cell lines in a set of two trials (four to seven cell lines per trial). During the germination phase, a shortened and simplified in vitro period, a cold storage option and basal media were explored. Viable plants were obtained from all treatments. However, there is still the need to improve germination and related protocols together with growing regimes for Pinus sylvestris. The improvements to protocols presented here, particularly for Pinus radiata, result in greater survival and quality of somatic emblings, leading to reduced costs and increased confidence in the technology. Simplified protocols using a cold storage option show great promise and, with some further research, could lead to reductions in the cost of the technology.
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