Key words Dormant somatic embryo
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Cotyledon explants of immature ginseng zygotic embryos cultured on Murashige and Skoog medium lacking growth regulators formed somatic embryos directly, most in a multiple state, fused together and to the parent cotyledon explants. When the cotyledon explants of ginseng were pretreated with 1.0 m sucrose for 24–72 h, all the somatic embryos developed individually from all surfaces of the cotyledons and the number of somatic embryos per explant was enhanced fourfold. Histological observation revealed that all the single somatic embryos from preplasmolysed cotyledons originated from epidermal single cells, whereas all the multiple embryos from cotyledons without pretreatment originated from epidermal and subepidermal cell masses. When the somatic embryos matured to the cotyledonary stage, further growth ceased and they remained white, probably indicating dormancy. Gibberellic acid (GA3) (over 1.0 mg/l) or chilling treatment (–2°C for over 8 weeks) were prerequisites for the germination of somatic embryos. Ultrastructural observation revealed that the cotyledon cells of somatic embryos without chilling or GA3 treatment contained numerous lipid reserves, dense cytoplasm, proplastids and non-activated mitochondria, whereas the cotyledon cells of somatic embryos after chilling or GA3 treatment were highly vacuolated and contained well-developed chloroplasts and active-state mitochondria enclosing numerous cristae, indicating that in-vitro-developed somatic embryos of P. ginseng may be dormant after maturing in a manner similar to zygotic embryos.
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