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Adventitious shoot formation is not inherent to micropropagation of banana as it is in maize

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Despite their similar morphology, banana and maize shoot tips responded strikingly different with respect to the in vitro formation of homogeneous multiple shoot clusters. While up to 50 small shoots per maize explant could be induced within 1 month, zero to one additional shoot formed starting from a banana shoot tip. Subsequently, banana shoot tips were subjected to different combinations of five cytokinins (0–100 μM) and five auxins (0–5 μM). The cytokinins thidiazuron and benzylaminopurine stimulated multiplication to a higher extent compared to zeatin, kinetin and isopentenyl adenine. The addition of indoleacetic acid, naphthalene acetic acid or indolebutyric acid to cytokinin containing medium did not affect the in vitro response. In contrast, 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (1 and 5 μM) and a higher concentration of picloram (5 μM) had a detrimental effect on shoot formation and resulted in explant death and globule development. When small (0.1 cm) shoot tips were grown on cytokinin medium without an auxin source, the average number of shoots was generally two to three times lower compared to bigger (0.5 cm) shoot tips. Based on our experience in maize and this large-scale study with banana shoot tips, we conclude that banana is extremely recalcitrant towards adventitious shoot formation. This recalcitrance could not be overcome by any of the 173 different plant growth regulator combinations tested. In vitro multiplication of banana thus appears solely restricted to axillary shoot formation.

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2,4-Dichlorophenoxy acetic acid






Corn shoot multiplication


Indole acetic acid


Indole butyric acid


International transit center




Multiple meristem cultures


Murashige and Skoog

MSac :

MS medium supplemented with 0.5 g/l active charcoal


Naphthalene acetic acid








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This work was possible due to the financial support of DGDC (Directorate-General for Development Cooperation), Belgium through a grant to IITA (International Institute of Tropical Agriculture) and INIBAP (International Network for the Improvement of Banana and Plantain, currently Bioversity International). We thank Dr. Sándor Mórocz at the Cereal Research Non-Profit Company (Szeged, Hungary) for supplying maize seeds. Special thanks also to all colleagues of the Laboratory of Tropical Crop Improvement who contributed through many discussions to an improved knowledge on the origin of multiple shoot cultures in banana.

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Correspondence to Bart Panis.

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Strosse, H., Andre, E., Sági, L. et al. Adventitious shoot formation is not inherent to micropropagation of banana as it is in maize. Plant Cell Tiss Organ Cult 95, 321 (2008).

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  • Adventitious
  • Auxins
  • Axillary
  • Cytokinins
  • Morphogenesis
  • Musa