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Embryogenic tissues of sugi (Cryptomeria japonica) were induced on a modified Campbell and Durzan (CD) medium containing 1 μM 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and 600 mg l−1 glutamine, and subcultured in the medium of the same composition for over 1 yr. This resulted in a mixed culture of embryogenic and non-embryogenic cells. When embryogenic cells were isolated and cultured independently, their capacity to form embryogenic aggregates was lost. Thus, the non-embryogenic cells present within a mixed culture system were essential to the formation of embryogenic aggregates. When embryogenic tissues were isolated and cultured independently on a high glutamine-containing (2400 mg l−1) medium, dry weights and endogenous levels of glutamine increased, and the tissue could generate a large number of embryogenic aggregates. Amino acid analysis of embryogenic and non-embryogenic cells from the maintenance culture indicated a higher level of glutamine was present in the latter. The high endogenous level of glutamine in the non-embryogenic portion of mixed cell masses may be the supplier of glutamine for maintaining the embryogenic property of the tissues.