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A novel encapsulation technique for the production of artificial seeds


A novel technique for the encapsulation of plant material in calcium alginate hollow beads was tested. The technique involves suspending plant material (i.e. plant cells, tissues, organs, shoot tips, somatic embryos) in a solution containing carboxymethylcellulose and calcium chloride and then dripping it into a stirred sodium alginate solution. In initial experiments with Daucus carota (carrot), it was found that after 14 days of cultivation, 100 % of seeds encapsulated in calcium alginate hollow beads would germinate in the liquid core and that 13% would burst the capsules. Embryogenic calli developed inside hollow beads and formed somatic embryos while calli in conventional calcium alginate beads became detached from the beads early in development, and no somatic embryogenesis occurred. With Solanum tuberosum (potato), development of calli was observed in 50% of hollow beads. Eighty-one percent of shoot tips encapsulated in hollow beads sprouted and grew out of the capsules.

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Received: 28 October 1999 / Revision received: 11 February 2000 / Accepted: 22 February 2000

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Patel, A., Pusch, I., Mix-Wagner, G. et al. A novel encapsulation technique for the production of artificial seeds. Plant Cell Reports 19, 868–874 (2000).

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  • Key words Artificial seeds
  • Encapsulation
  • Microcapsule
  • Daucus carota
  • Solanum tuberosum