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Dormancy induction of somatic embryos of Siberian ginseng by high sucrose concentrations enhances the conservation of hydrated artificial seeds and dehydration resistance

Choi, Y., Jeong, J.
Plant cell reports 2002 v.20 no.12 pp. 1112-1116
tillage, Eleutherococcus senticosus, medicinal plants, woody plants, forest trees, seeds, embryo (plant), somatic embryogenesis, seed germination, seed maturation, seedlings, seedling growth, seed dormancy, culture media, sucrose, dose response, gibberellic acid, auxins, cytokinins, abscisic acid, plant morphology, artificial seeds
In most plants, somatic embryos tend to germinate prematurely, a process that is detrimental to controlled plant production and the conservation of artificial seeds. We investigated the dormancy characteristics of Siberian ginseng somatic embryos induced simply by a high sucrose treatment, a treatment that enables the long-term conservation of artificial seeds following encapsulation and provides embryos with an enhanced resistance to dehydration. Early-cotyledonary stage somatic embryos were mass-produced by means of bioreactor culture. These embryos were then plated on medium supplemented with various levels of sucrose (1%, 3%, 6% or 9%) and allowed to mature. Subsequent germination of these embryos following the maturation period depended significantly on the sucrose level. At concentrations of 9% sucrose, none of the somatic embryos germinated after maturation, and none were recovered after being transferred to half-strength MS medium containing 2% sucrose. Gibberellic acid treatment was necessary to induce germination; other growth regulators such as auxins and cytokinins did not induce a response. Endogenous abscisic acid content in somatic embryos matured at 9% sucrose (487.8 ng/g FW) was approximately double that found in those matured at 3% sucrose (258.4 ng/g FW). This indicates induced dormancy in embryos under high osmotic stress. Alginate encapsulation of embryos facilitated the artificial induction of dormancy to extend the conservation period without germination. The induction of dormancy strengthened resistance to dehydration after the embryos were desiccated to 15% of their normal water content. Reduced chances of embryo survival during long-term desiccation were distinctly delayed in dormant embryos. These results indicate that the induction of dormancy in embryos is a promising application for synthetic seed production.