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  Fruits 73 (1) 13-21 | DOI: 10.17660/th2018/73.1.2
ISSN 0248-1294 print and 1625-967X online | © ISHS 2018 | Fruits, The International Journal of Tropical and Subtropical Horticulture | Original article

Regeneration ability and seedling growth in the miracle plant Synsepalum dulcificum (Schumach. & Thonn.) Daniell

D.A. Tchokponhoué1,a, E.G. Achigan-Dako1, S. N’Danikou1,2, A.C. Houdégbé1, C.O. Aboègnonhou Agossou1, F. Assogba-Komlan3 and R.S. Vodouhè2
1 Laboratory of Genetics, Horticulture and Seed Sciences, Faculty of Agronomic Sciences, University of Abomey-Calavi, BP 2549, Abomey-Calavi, Republic of Benin
2 Bioversity International, West and Central Africa Office, 08 BP 0932, Cotonou, Republic of Benin
3 National Agricultural Research Institute of Benin (INRAB), 01 BP 884, Cotonou, Republic of Benin

Introduction – Conservation and management of recalcitrant-seeded species are a major concern, particularly for socio-economically important species such as Synsepalum dulcificum in which seed viability and storage behavior are not sufficiently documented. Materials and methods – In order to improve the seed propagation management of S. dulcificum, we investigated the effects of seed provenance, short-term storage, culture medium, and pulp removal on viability, germinability, germination speed, and seedlings growth. A first experiment following a complete randomized block design consisted of two treatments (intact fruit or depulped fruit). In a second experiment we used a split-split-plot design with 16 treatments of a factorial combination of 2 provenances (Houéyogbé and Toffo), 2 culture media (soil and sawdust) and 4 storage times (0, 1, 2, and 7 days). Results and discussion – The seed viability remained high (85%) on the second day of storage at ambient condition and decreased to 0% when seeds were stored for 7 days. It was affected by the type of culture medium. All factors, except pulp removal, affected germinability and germination speed with percentages ranging from 44 to 99% at two months after sowing. Seedling growth was extremely slow and was affected by the seed provenance, substrate, and storage time. Conclusion – The time of storage is a major limiting factor for S. dulcificum seed viability whereas successive use of sawdust and soil for germination and seedling growth, respectively, is recommended to improve seedling production in the nursery.

Aptitude à la régénération et croissance des plantules chez la baie miracle Synsepalum dulcificum (Schumach. & Thonn.) Daniell.
Introduction – La conservation et la gestion des espèces à semences récalcitrantes constituent une préoccupation majeure, en particulier pour les espèces d’importance socio-économique telles que Synsepalum dulcificum pour lesquelles la viabilité et le comportement des semences en stockage ne sont pas suffisamment documentés. Matériel et méthodes – Afin d’améliorer la gestion de la propagation de S. dulcificum par semis, nous avons étudié les effets de la provenance des semences, du stockage de courte durée, du substrat de culture et de l’élimination de la pulpe du fruit sur la viabilité, la germination, la vitesse de germination et la croissance des plantules. Un premier essai en blocs aléatoires complets a consisté en deux traitements (fruit intact ou fruits dépulpés). Dans un deuxième essai, nous avons utilisé un modèle en split-split-plot avec 16 traitements en combinaison factorielle de 2 provenances (Houéyogbé et Toffo), 2 substrats (sol et sciure de bois) et 4 durées de stockage (0, 1, 2 et 7 jours). Résultats et discussion – La viabilité des semences s’est montrée élevée (85%) au deuxième jour de stockage à l’air ambiant et a chuté à 0% lorsque les graines ont été stockées pendant 7 jours. Elle a été affectée par le type de substrat. Tous les facteurs, à l’exception de l’élimination de la pulpe, ont eu un effet sur la germination et la vitesse de germination des graines, avec des pourcentages variant de 44 à 99% deux mois après le semis. La croissance des jeunes plants s’est montrée extrêmement lente et a été affectée par la provenance des semences, le substrat et la durée de stockage. Conclusion – La durée de stockage est un facteur limitant déterminant pour la viabilité des graines de S. dulcificum, alors que l’utilisation successive de la sciure de bois et du sol pour la germination et la croissance des plantules, respectivement, est recommandée pour améliorer la production des plants en pépinière.

Keywords Benin, Synsepalum dulcificum, seed viability, germination, agroforestry, underutilized species, genetic resource management

Mots clés Bénin, Synsepalum dulcificum, viabilité des semences, germination, système agroforestier, espèces sous-utilisées, gestion des ressources génétiques

Significance of this study

What is already known on this subject?

  • Little was known on seed regeneration ability and seedling growth in Synsepalum dulcificum, an attractive future crop, for which technical knowledge (e.g., seed management) for profitable and large scale cultivation is yet to be determined.
What are the new findings?
  • We demonstrated that seed storage beyond seven days at ambient temperature is detrimental for S. dulcificum.
    Seed provenance affects regeneration and is a key factor to consider for the successful reproduction of the species.
    Alternation of use of sawdust and soil improved seed germination and seedling growth respectively in the nursery.
What is the expected impact on horticulture?
  • Knowledge and practices to increase the regeneration and seedling growth in S. dulcificum is now available. New possibilities rise up to accelerate and scale up the production of miracle berry in West Africa.

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Received: 28 January 2017 | Accepted: 31 October 2017 | Published: 30 January 2018 | Available online: 30 January 2018

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