Low-cost alternatives for the micropropagation of banana
A 90% resource cost reduction in tissue culture of banana was achieved by replacing tissue culture grade sucrose and Gelrite in the medium with locally available commercial sugar and a starch/Gelrite mixture and by using sun light instead of artificial light. The micropropagation of Musa `Grande Naine' by shoot tip culture was used as model. Thirteen commercial sugars from different countries were tested. Best results were achieved using white and light brown sugars with low electrical conductivity. Sugars of cane or sugar beet origin were suitable. Starches of corn or potato could partially substitute for Gelrite and agar. In all experiments, micropropagation rates under natural light conditions were equal to or higher than under the controlled conditions of a growth room with PPFD of 65 μmol m−2 s−1 and a 16-h photoperiod. Plants were exposed to average PPFD levels of 58–96 μmol m−2 s−1 and photoperiods ranged from 8–16 hours.
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