Variability in maturation and germination from white spruce somatic embryos, as affected by age and use of solid or liquid culture

  • David I. Dunstan
  • Terry D. Bethune
Developmental Biology/Morphogenesis


The yield of morphologically normal Stage 3 somatic embryos of white spruce [Picea glauca (Moench) Voss], and subsequent germinability, was affected by culture age and use of solid and/or liquid culture growth conditions. Of the conditions that were compared, best results were obtained with cultures up to 3 yr old that had been continuously grown in liquid medium. Such material yielded up to 374 morphologically normal Stage 3 embryos per g f. wt. inoculum, when routinely pretreated using a 1 wk 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid-free period before maturation. By comparison the continual use of solid culture conditions resulted in lower yields (5/g f. wt. inoculum), and the use of solid medium in combination with liquid medium showed a greater affect of age on the production of normal Stage 3 embryos (348/g f. wt at 1.5 yr down to 19/g f. wt. at 3 yr) over the age range tested. In the absence of culture pretreatment, the oldest liquid cultures yielded only 44 normal Stage 3 embryos/g f. wt. inoculum, and the comparable solid to liquid cultures yielded 1.3/g f. wt. inoculum. The number of aberrant Stage 3 embryos in older cultures was reduced as a result of culture pretreatment; for example, in the oldest liquid cultures these represented 83% of the Stage 3 embryo population without pretreatment and 45% with pretreatment. Normal Stage 3 somatic embryo yield and germination characteristics (radicle and epicotyl development) were informative in distinguishing among the conditions studied. Germination characteristics were especially important when maturation responses were incapable of distinguishing among age classes.

Key words

liquid/solid culture maturation Picea glauca (Moench) Voss pretreatment somatic embryo variability 


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Copyright information

© Society for In Vitro Biology 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • David I. Dunstan
    • 1
  • Terry D. Bethune
    • 1
  1. 1.Plant Biotechnology InstituteNational Research Council of CanadaSaskatoonCanada

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