2011, pp 91-117

Micropropagation of Date Palm Using Inflorescence Explants

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Abstract

Inflorescence-based micropropagation holds great potential for the ­multiplication of recalcitrant male and female date palm individual trees and cultivars of commercial interests with limited populations. This can be accomplished in a short time with minimal effort as compared to the traditional practice of using shoot-tip explants. The aim of this technique is to pave the way to use inflorescence explants to micropropagate date palm by direct formation of organs (somatic embryos or shoots) and avoiding most of the constraints that face the shoot tip like high percentage of contamination in the establishment stage, heavy browning, a long time for first cluster initiation, using a considerable number of offshoots and inability to micropropagate the elite palms in case no offshoots are available. The way to excise the immature inflorescence without damage to the mother tree, composition of the nutrient medium for direct organ initiation have remained hindrances to this technique over recent decades, in addition to the technicalities for proper handling of cultures inside the laboratory and successful shifting of plants to the greenhouse. We report for the first time an innovative method used to excise the immature inflorescence at a suitable stage for successful culture initiation. Spikelet explants are induced to produce shining globular structures without a callus phase. Also, explants were exceptionally able to develop direct shoots. Two types of organs developed on the differentiation medium, green shoots and intact somatic embryos. Only green shoots and multiple somatic embryos were subjected to proliferation at the multiplication stage. Well-rooted plantlets were hardened and successfully established in soil.