The role of topolins in micropropagation and somaclonal variation of banana cultivars ‘Williams’ and ‘Grand Naine’ (Musa spp. AAA)

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The effect of the cytokinins mT (meta-topolin), mTR (meta-topolin riboside), MemT (meta-methoxy topolin) and MemTR (meta-methoxy topolin riboside) on micropropagation of banana cultivars ‘Williams’ and ‘Grand Naine’ was studied and compared to BA (6-benzylaminopurine). In vitro cultures, at the third sub-culture level, were purchased from African Biotechnologies (Pty) Ltd., South Africa. These were then sub-cultured on MS media containing 7.5, 15 and 30 μM of all the cytokinins tested. Results recorded after 6 weeks of growth demonstrated that there were statistically significant differences between the parameters analyzed for the treatments. Superior multiplication rates were recorded for mT and mTR treatments. This result was consistent when compared to BA at 22.2 μM (previously published standard concentration). Contrary to previous findings with other species, these cytokinins inhibited rooting. The effect on somaclonal variation was not significantly different when BA, mT and mTR were tested at the seventh multiplication cycle for ‘Williams’ banana. These results support the possible use of topolins as an alternative to BA for Cavendish banana tissue culture. The role of these cytokinins on somaclonal variation however, requires a more stringent investigation as the results obtained in this investigation could have been influenced by carry-over effects from the initial cultures.

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