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Encapsulation-dehydration for cryopreservation: past, present and future

Engelmann, F.
Acta horticulturae 2011 no.908 pp. 165-171
Eucalyptus, artificial seeds, calcium alginate, carrots, cassava, cell suspension culture, cooling, cryopreservation, encapsulation, explants, germplasm, grapes, ovules, pears, potatoes, seeds, shoots, sucrose, sugarcane
The encapsulation-dehydration technique was established in France through the pioneering work of the team of the late Jean Dereuddre. This method is based on the technology developed for producing synthetic seeds, i.e. the encapsulation of explants in calcium alginate beads. Encapsulated explants are then precultured in liquid medium with a high sucrose concentration and partially desiccated before cooling. Encapsulating explants allows submitting them to very drastic treatments including preculture with high sucrose concentrations and desiccation to low moisture contents, which would be highly damaging or lethal to non-encapsulated samples. Encapsulation-dehydration was developed firstly with species from temperate climates, including notably pear, potato, grape, eucalyptus and carrot. Later, it was experimented with tropical plants, notably cassava, sugarcane and coffee. Today, it has been successfully extended to over 70 plant species using cell suspensions, shoot tips, zygotic, somatic and microspore embryos, ovules and seeds, as well as to microalgae. An example of its routine, large scale application is found in CIAT (Colombia) with the work performed on cryopreservation of cassava germplasm.