Wheat pp 269-282 | Cite as

Growth of Wheat Ears in Liquid Culture

  • G. R. Donovan
  • B. T. Lee
  • J. W. Lee
Part of the Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry book series (AGRICULTURE, volume 13)


The growth of cereal grains under defined nutritional and environmental conditions has many advantages for investigational purposes. Normally the developing seed will depend on the vegetative parts of the plant for its supply of its carbohydrates, amino acids, minerals, and other minor constituents although a minor amount of photosynthesis, or at least carbon dioxide refixation, may occur in the seed coat. The range of techniques for the study of plant development ranges from the use of whole plants from crops or pot experiments to the use of plant cell culture or even cell-free synthesis of plant constituents. In choosing a source of plant tissue for study, the investigator must always balance with the aims of his experiments, the simplification of the system against the possibility that the behavior observed may not truly reflect the normal state of development in a whole plant or crop situation. The culture of plant organs can, however, be very useful in providing quick answers to questions concerning the response of that organ, or parts of it, to nutritional or other environmental perturbation. Ideally, studies of nutritional and environmental factors on grain development, uncomplicated by interactions with other parts of the plant, would best be carried out by culturing the isolated caryopsis. Gifford and Bremner (1981 a,b) were able to obtain linear growth with cultured wheat kernels for up to 1 week provided the outer pericarp was removed. Without removal of the outer pericarp or some other form of surgery, assimilate did not appear to be able to enter the detached developing grain. Normally sucrose would be transported into and along the grain via the phloem (Sakri and Shannon 1975). Millerd et al. (1975) removed both the seed coats and embryonic axes before growing pea cotyledons in liquid culture, again indicating the necessity of providing alternative access for the various nutrients to the growing tissue.


Seed Coat Liquid Culture Sucrose Concentration Ammonium Nitrate Flag Leaf 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. R. Donovan
    • 1
  • B. T. Lee
    • 2
  • J. W. Lee
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Plant IndustryWheat Research Unit, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research OrganizationNorth RydeAustralia
  2. 2.Rothamsted Experiment StationHarpenden, HertsUK

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