Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture (PCTOC)

, Volume 138, Issue 1, pp 193–205 | Cite as

Combined pre-treatments enhance antioxidant metabolism and improve survival of cryopreserved kiwifruit shoot tips

  • Liya Mathew
  • David J. Burritt
  • Andrew McLachlan
  • Ranjith PathiranaEmail author
Original Article


The number of species conserved by cryopreservation is increasing thanks to the development of robust vitrification-based protocols. Managing oxidative stress is critical for the successful application of cryopreservation to plant tissues. This research was aimed at understanding the protective effect of pre-treatment of stock plantlets with cold, and their shoot tips with sucrose and an antioxidant (ascorbate) during cryopreservation by droplet vitrification (DV). The levels of enzymatic and non-enzymatic oxidative markers as well as oxidative damage in pre-treated and untreated shoot tips of Actinidia chinensis var. chinensis ‘Hort16A’ at different stages of DV and recovery were studied. All the antioxidant markers showed a significant increase in shoot tips from cold-acclimated plantlets pre-treated with a combination of sucrose and ascorbate compared with untreated shoot tips throughout the steps, especially 24 h after recovery from cryopreservation. Oxidative damage markers; lipid peroxides and protein carbonyls were significantly lower in pre-treated shoot tips than in untreated shoot tips after cryopreservation, suggesting better protection as a result of the pre-treatments used. These observations were confirmed in recovery studies where shoot tips that were harvested from cold-hardened plantlets, and pre-treated with sucrose and ascorbate, showed 40% regeneration against 0% in cryopreserved shoot tips that were not pre-treated.

Key message

Combined pre-treatments with cold, sucrose and ascorbate enhance antioxidant metabolism and improve survival of cryopreserved kiwifruit shoot tips.


Actinidia spp. Ascorbate Oxidative stress Oxidative damage Tissue culture Vitrification Conservation 



Authors thank Andrew Mullan and Belinda Diepenheim for technical assistance and Tony Corbett for preparing the figures. The research was funded by Kiwifruit Royalty Investment Programme of The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited.

Author contributions

RP and DJB conceptualised the research, and designed the experiments, LM, DJB and RP –conducted the research. RP wrote the manuscript with DJB and LM, AM—conducted the statistical analysis, interpreted results and wrote sections of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest with the contents of this article.

Supplementary material

11240_2019_1617_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (114 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 113 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research LimitedPalmerston NorthNew Zealand
  2. 2.Department of BotanyUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand

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