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Conservation, propagation, and redistribution (CPR) of Hill’s thistle: paradigm for plant species at risk

Wenlu Bi, Akansha Saxena, Murali-Mohan Ayyanath, Cavan Harpur, Mukund R. Shukla, Praveen K. Saxena
Plant cell, tissue, and organ culture 2021 v.145 no.1 pp. 75-88
Cirsium, abiotic stress, applied research, cryopreservation, endangered species, greenhouses, herbivores, limestone, melatonin, models, organ culture, overwintering, plant hormones, protocols, regrowth, risk, serotonin, tryptamine, tryptophan
Cryopreservation is a valuable tool that could potentially create an alternate plant preservation strategy for species at risk such as Hill’s thistle. The present study is focused on a successful paradigm involving conservation, propagation and redistribution (CPR), emaphasizing the usefulness of cryopreservation techniques for plant conservation using Hill’s thistle (Cirsium hillii. (Canby) Fernald). A cryopreservation protocol was established using the droplet-vitrification method for 5-week-old shoot tips of in vitro grown cultures. More than 90% of shoot tips showed regrowth and nearly all regenerated plants were able to survive in the greenhouse. The survival, growth, and development of plants from cryopreserved shoot buds and their performance in field conditions were all comparable or better than the plants from non-cryopreserved buds. Reintroduced plants flowered following overwintering and the magnitude of flowering was site dependent with ca. 80% flowering observed in one site. The site dependent flowering patterns were assessed using phytohormone profiling and compared to herbivory, a common biotic stressor of these plants. Lower tryptophan concentrations led to higher flowering except in alvars, where the limestone resisted root penetration resulting in poor flowering. The presence of tryptamine in the greenhouse acclimatized or alvar field leaves suggested the preparedness of the plants for herbivory/grazing. Serotonin and melatonin concentrations were lower in flowering plants and in sites where the biotic/abiotic stress was minimal. This study provides evidence of the effectiveness of the CPR model in species recovery programs for endangered species. Physiological characterization of plants developed from cryopreserved tissues can be useful for fundamental and applied research in stress adaptation and reproductive biology of plants.