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Gas exchange measurement as a non-destructive viability assay for frozen-thawed, winter-dormant apple buds

Vogiatzi, C., Rosenqvist, E., Grout, B.W.W.
Cryobiology 2018
Malus domestica, apples, buds, cryopreservation, dormancy, false positive results, freeze-thaw cycles, gas exchange, micropropagation, population viability, temperature, viability, viability assays, winter
Low temperature studies with winter-dormant buds are severely limited by the lack of a rapid,non-destructive assay for their viability. Investigations involving the winter harvest of ecodormant buds of woody subjects, including cryopreservation, are restricted if viability cannot be assessed until dormancy is broken. If post-treatment grafting indicates low survival of the harvested population then further collection and study has to be delayed until the next winter season. This study trials the use of a portable gas exchange system able to discriminate between live and dead buds rapidly, with the assay confirmed as non-destructive by subsequent micropropagation. Active respiration was recorded for 85% of a winter-dormant Malus domestica buds population that showed 91% viability when grafted (n = 45). Lethally stressed material gave no false positive results. When micropropagated after respiratory measurement, a population viability of 76% was recorded. There was a significant, positive correlation between respiration and fresh weight for buds of mass >10 mg, from a population with a mean fresh weight of 17 mg.