Acceleration of Blueberry Selections from Tissue Culture
Emma K. Rawnsley and Shirley A. Miller
When micropropagated plants are first removed from culture vessels they are vulnerable to abrupt changes in environmental conditions (Kyte and Klein, 1983). The plants are extremely tender, with soft leaves and poorly developed stomata for water regulation (Zobayed et al., 1999). Transpiration losses are high and the plants wilt readily if a sudden drop in relative humidity is imposed, as for example when the lid of the vessel is removed too quickly. The plants may also be more sensitive to pathogen attack. Unless in vitro plants are acclimatized and handled carefully, losses can be high.
Factors to consider when transplanting micropropagated plants to the greenhouse have been well documented (Preece, 2001), but individual crops have specific requirements and nurseries generally develop their own methods through trial and error. HortResearch uses shoot-tip micropropagation with blueberries (Vaccinium sp.) to bulk-up plants of elite selections for evaluation. Although we
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