Plant Cell Reports

, Volume 37, Issue 5, pp 689–709 | Cite as

Cryobiotechnology of apple (Malus spp.): development, progress and future prospects

  • Min-Rui Wang
  • Long Chen
  • Jaime A. Teixeira da SilvaEmail author
  • Gayle M. VolkEmail author
  • Qiao-Chun WangEmail author


Key message

Cryopreservation provides valuable genes for further breeding of elite cultivars, and cryotherapy improves the production of virus-free plants in Malus spp., thus assisting the sustainable development of the apple industry.


Apple (Malus spp.) is one of the most economically important temperate fruit crops. Wild Malus genetic resources and existing cultivars provide valuable genes for breeding new elite cultivars and rootstocks through traditional and biotechnological breeding programs. These valuable genes include those resistant to abiotic factors such as drought and salinity, and to biotic factors such as fungi, bacteria and aphids. Over the last three decades, great progress has been made in apple cryobiology, making Malus one of the most extensively studied plant genera with respect to cryopreservation. Explants such as pollen, seeds, in vivo dormant buds, and in vitro shoot tips have all been successfully cryopreserved, and large Malus cryobanks have been established. Cryotherapy has been used for virus eradication, to obtain virus-free apple plants. Cryopreservation provided valuable genes for further breeding of elite cultivars, and cryotherapy improved the production of virus-free plants in Malus spp., thus assisting the sustainable development of the apple industry. This review provides updated and comprehensive information on the development and progress of apple cryopreservation and cryotherapy. Future research will reveal new applications and uses for apple cryopreservation and cryotherapy.


Apple Breeding Conservation Cryopreservation Cryotherapy Dormant buds Shoot tips Seeds Malus Vitrification 



Apical dome


Apple leaf chlorotic spot virus


Apple mosaic virus


Apple stem grooving virus


Apple stem pitting virus




Dimethyl sulfoxide


Fresh weight basis


Gibberellic acid 3


Indole-3-butyric acid


Inter-simple sequence repeat


Julius Kühn Institute


Liquid nitrogen


Liquid nitrogen vapor


Leaf primordium


Murashige and Skoog


National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation


Plant vitrification solution


Plant vitrification solution 2


Plant vitrification solution 3


Random amplified polymorphic DNA


Raspberry bushy dwarf virus


Relative humidity


2, 3, 5-triphenyl tetrazolium chloride solution


United States Department of Agriculture



The authors appreciate the use of published data from Monika Höfer, Julius Kühn Institute, Dresden, Germany. They also thank Jean Carlos Bettoni for providing an internal review of the manuscript. Financial support was received from the Department of Science and Technology of Shaanxi Province, China (2014KTCL02-05) (Q. Wang) and USDA Agricultural Research Service in-house appropriated funds Project Number 3012-21000-014-00D (G. Volk).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest declared.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Crop Stress Biology in Arid Region, College of HorticultureNorthwest Agriculture & Forestry UniversityYanglingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Kagawa-kenJapan
  3. 3.National Laboratory for Genetic Resources PreservationFort CollinsUSA

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