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The influence of ethylene and ethylene modulators on shoot organogenesis in tomato


The influence of ethylene and ethylene modulators on the in vitro organogenesis of tomato was studied using a highly regenerating accession of the wild tomato Solanum pennellii and an F1 plant resulting from a cross between Solanum pennellii and Solanum lycopersicum cv. Anl27, which is known to have a low regeneration frequency. Four ethylene-modulating compounds, each at four levels, were used, namely: cobalt chloride (CoCl2), which inhibits the production of ethylene; AgNO3 (SN), which inhibits ethylene action; and Ethephon and the precursor 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC), which both promote ethylene synthesis. Leaf explants of each genotype were incubated on shoot induction medium supplemented with each of these compounds at 0, 10 or 15 days following bud induction. The results obtained in our assays indicate that ethylene has a significant influence on tomato organogenesis. Concentrations of ethylene lower than the optimum (according to genotype) at the beginning of the culture may decrease the percentage of explants with buds (B), produce a delay in their appearance, or indeed inhibit bud formation. This was observed in S. pennellii and the F1 explants cultured on media with SN (5.8–58.0 μM) as well as in the F1 explants cultured on medium with 21.0 μM CoCl2. The percentage of explants with shoots (R) and the mean number of shoots per explant with shoots (PR) also diminished in media that contained SN. Shoots isolated from these explants were less developed compared to those isolated from control explants. On the other hand, ethylene supplementation may contribute to enhancing shoot development. The number of isolable shoots from S. pennellii explants doubled in media with ACC (9.8–98.0 μM). Shoots isolated from explants treated with ethylene releasing compounds showed a higher number of nodes when ACC and Ethephon were added at 10 days (in F1 explants) or at 15 days (in S. pennellii) after the beginning of culture. Thus, the importance of studying not only the concentration but also the timing of the application of regulators when developing regeneration protocols has been made manifest. An excess of ethylene supplementation may produce an inhibitory effect, as was observed when using Ethephon (17.2–69.0 μM). These results show the involvement of ethylene in tomato organogenesis and lead us to believe that ethylene supplementation may contribute to enhancing regeneration and shoot development in tomato.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2



1-aminocyclopropane- 1 -carboxylic acid


Murashige and Skoog basal medium (1962)

CoCl2 :

Cobalt chloride


2-chloroethanephosphonic acid


Silver nitrate (AgNO3)


Shoot induction medium


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Carlos Trujillo has a predoctoral fellowship from the Spanish ‘Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia’. This work has been funded by Universitat Politécnica de València (PAID 05-10). The technical assistance of N. Palacios and the revision of the manuscript’s English by J. Bergen are gratefully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Carmina Gisbert.

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Trujillo-Moya, C., Gisbert, C. The influence of ethylene and ethylene modulators on shoot organogenesis in tomato. Plant Cell Tiss Organ Cult 111, 41–48 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11240-012-0168-z

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  • Organogenesis
  • ACC
  • AgNO3
  • CoCl2
  • Ethephon