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Cassava Starch as Alternative Low-cost Gelling Agent for In Vitro Micropropagation of Three Musa Genotypes

Aims: This study was conducted to compare the effect of starch from cassava (Manihot esculenta, Crantz) as a gelling agent with that of GelriteTM, a standard gelling agent in the basic MS medium on the rate of shoot initiation, multiplication and regeneration in vitro of three Musa genotypes. Study design: Randomized Complete Block Design with three replications. Analysis of variance (P=0.05) was used to test treatment effects and mean comparison was by Duncan’s Multiple Range Test (DMRT) at P=0.05. Place and Duration of Study: The study was carried out at the Plant Tissue Culture Laboratory of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) High Rainfall Station, Onne in Rivers State, Nigeria for a period of ten months. Methodology: The performance of three Musa genotypes [tetraploid plantain hybrid PITA 14 (AAAB) genome, tetraploid cooking banana hybrid BITA 3 (AAAB) genome and a cooking banana landrace Cardaba (ABB) genome] in gelrite, was compared with an alternative gelling agent - starch from cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) in a three step micropropagation shoot initiation, multiplication and regeneration cycle Results: The number of shoots initiated in BITA 3, PITA 14 and Cardaba, did not differ significantly with gelrite and starch as gelling agents during shoot initiation. During multiplication and regeneration stages, there were no significant differences in the effect of gelrite and cassava starch on number of shoots produced by BITA 3 and Cardaba. However, plantain hybrid PITA 14 produced significantly higher number of shoots in gelrite than in cassava starch at both stages. Cardaba had significantly lowest number of shoots than the hybrids in all 3 stages. Conclusion: Cassava starch is not an effective low cost substitute for gelrite beyond shoot initiation for PITA 14. Addition of small amounts of gelrite to cassava starch could improve its gelling ability in later stages. Further studies will need to confirm this.

Author(s): Victoria Wilson and Abdou Tenkouano

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