Improved Coconut mass propagation technique

By: Estrella Z. Gallardo

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Coconut tissue culture through somatic embryogenesis is an alternative technique for mass production of coconut. With this technique, the plumule-derived planting materials are produced from embryonic callus-forming somatic embryos and later on regenerate into plantlets over a period of almost three years.

One plumule from a mature coconut is expected to produced 1,000 plantlets following the enhanced PCA-coconut somatic embryogenesis technology (PCA-Cset).

CSet is a tool for rapid mass propagation of superior genetic stocks for high yield, pest and disease resistance, and high value products. It is an alternative technique, which involves the use of immature flowers, immature embryos, and plumule or the meristematic part of the embryo.

The CSet project is tested and evaluated by a group of researchers from the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), University of the Philippines (UP), Bicol University (BU), and Visayas State University (VSU).

To date, more than 12,000 plumules were excised and initiated for callus formation with 56% efficiency adopting the enhanced PCA-CSet protocol in seven upgraded/equipped laboratories in PCA Albay and Zamboanga, UP Los Baños (UPLB), UP Mindanao, Bicol University College of Agriculture and Forestry (BUCAF), and VSU.

The protocol is currently being enhanced to attain as much as 1,000 seedlings per plumule by using explants from high yielding tall and dwarf coconut varieties.

By using planting materials derived from CSet, the existing old and senile coconut trees, typhoon-damaged, and insect-infested palms will be replaced with more productive trees. The technology is expected to benefit the farmers in coconut growing areas and suitable coastal areas in Regions: 4A, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, and ARMM.

To date, the highest multiplication rate that could be attained is 80–120 seedlings per plumule. This result is considered very promising when compared to traditional propagation techniques.

Coconut tissue culture through somatic embryogenesis helps produce quality planting materials of improved coconut varieties for the replanting program in coconut growing areas and new planting in coastal arrears in Regions 4-A, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, and ARMM.

Researchers, coconut growers, farming communities, extension workers, industry stakeholders, and policy makers are its target beneficiaries in Albay, Zamboanga del Sur, Laguna, Davao del Sur, and Leyte.

The Partner Institutions, Philippine Coconut Authority-Zamboanga Research Center (PCA-ZRC), PCA – Albay Research Center (ARC), University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), UP Mindanao, Visayas State University, Bicol University College of Agriculture and Forestry (BUCAF).

DOST-PCAARRD showcased this somatic embryogenesis including other agri-aqua S&T research and development (R&D) outputs on March 2-4, 2016 during the SIPAG FIESTA at its headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna.

SIPAG, a technology transfer strategy, embodies the Council’s commitment to DOST’s Outcome One in a bid to ensure that the fruits of R&D activities for the agri-aqua sectors will be a blessing for every Juan.(PSciJourn MegaManila).

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