Researchers produce coconut palm plantlets using tissue culture

Education, Engineering, Science, Research,

ICAR
researchers produce coconut palm plantlets using tissue culture

New
Delhi, October 31 (India Science Wire): Over the years, several economically
important plants have been multiplied and conserved using tissue culture
technique in which whole plants are re-generated from parts of plants. However,
the technique has not been very successful with palms like coconut palm or
toddy palm.

Now
researchers from the regional station of ICAR-Central Plantation Crops
Research Institute
 (CPCRI)
at Kayamkulam in Kerala have developed tissue culture plants of coconut
palm.

Coconut
palm : important cultivated palm in the world

 The coconut palm is an important cultivated
palm in the world, and is popular for its industrial and commercial
applications. In India, it is cultivated mainly
in the coastal tracts of Kerala,
Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal,
Pondicherry, Maharashtra and the islands of Lakshadweep and Andaman and
Nicobar.

At
present, coconut palm is propagated through seeds.

However,
it takes five to 10 years for a plant to produce the first harvest.
Consequently, crop improvement programmes in coconut is time
consuming and tedious. A scientist has to wait for 20 to 30 years for releasing
a new variety by conventional breeding approaches. Tissue culture can help overcome
this. Even though many people have developed protocols using various parts of
plant like tender leaf, immature inflorescence, shoot tip, and immature embryo.
However, they lack reliability and repeatability.

CPCRI
researchers used tissues from immature inflorescence.

The
team were able to re-generate rooted plants. The plantlets were similar to the
mother plant from which they have taken the tissue. This has been confirmed by advanced
molecular biology techniques
.

“Even
though there are reports of in vitro
production of coconut plantlets from parts of seeds and embryo, they were
genetically not similar to the mother plant. In contrast, all the plantlets
produced by our team were similar to the mother plant. Our study will have
applications in germplasm conservation and also in the large scale production
of cultivars for the farming community, though it needs few more refinements,”
explained Dr. Regi J. Thomas, who led the research team,
while speaking to India Science Wire.

Dr. Thomas, the team included M. Shareefa, J. S. Sreelekshmi , M. K. Rajesh and Anitha Karun.

The study results have been published in the journal Current Science.

By Biju Dharmapalan

 (India Science Wire)

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