, Volume 69, Issue 3, pp 215-231

Temporary immersion systems in plant micropropagation

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Abstract

Temporary immersion systems for plant micropropagation have been described and grouped into 4 categories according to operation: tilting and rocker machines; complete immersion of plant material and renewal of the nutrient medium; partial immersion and a liquid nutrient renewal mechanism; complete immersion by pneumatic driven transfer of liquid medium and without nutrient medium renewal. The positive effects of temporary immersion on micropropagation are indicated for shoot proliferation and microcuttings, microtuberization and somatic embryogenesis. Immersion time, i.e. duration or frequency, is the most decisive parameter for system efficiency. Optimizing the volume of nutrient medium and the volume of the culture container also substantially improves efficacy, especially for shoot proliferation. Temporary immersion also generally improves plant material quality. It results in increased shoot vigour and in the frequency of morphologically normal somatic embryos. Hyperhydricity, which seriously affects cultures in liquid medium, can be eliminated with these culture systems or controlled by adjusting the immersion times. Plant material propagated by temporary immersion can perform better during the acclimatization phase than material obtained on semi-solid or in liquid media. Successful regeneration of plants, after direct sowing on soil of Solanum tuberosum microtubers and Coffea arabica somatic embryos produced in temporary immersion bioreactors, has been demonstrated. As could be expected when using liquid medium for micropropagation, several estimations confirm large gains in efficacy from temporary immersion. The parameters most involved in reducing production costs include: (1) the drastic reduction in work; (2) reduction in shelving area; (3) reduction in the number of containers used; (4) better biological yields. Scaling-up somatic embryogenesis and shoot proliferation procedures involving temporary immersion systems in order to commercialize this process are now taking place.