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Article

Challenges for Ex Situ Conservation of Wild Bananas: Seeds Collected in Papua New Guinea Have Variable Levels of Desiccation Tolerance

1
Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Millennium Seed Bank, Wakehurst, Ardingly, Sussex RH17 6TN, UK
2
Department of Biosystems, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Willem de Croylaan 42, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
3
Meise Botanic Garden, Nieuwelaan 38, 1860 Meise, Belgium
4
Bioversity International, Willem de Croylaan 42, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
5
Plant Conservation and Population Biology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Kasteelpark Arenberg 31, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
6
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, c/o Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology, Arusha 0206, Tanzania
7
National Agricultural Research Institute, Laloki 121, Papua New Guinea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Plants 2020, 9(9), 1243; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9091243
Received: 30 July 2020 / Revised: 16 September 2020 / Accepted: 17 September 2020 / Published: 21 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Biodiversity and Genetic Resources)
Ex situ seed conservation of banana crop wild relatives (Musa spp. L.), is constrained by critical knowledge gaps in their storage and germination behaviour. Additionally, challenges in collecting seeds from wild populations impact the quality of seed collections. It is, therefore, crucial to evaluate the viability of seeds from such collecting missions in order to improve the value of future seed collections. We evaluate the seed viability of 37 accessions of seven Musa species, collected from wild populations in Papua New Guinea, during two collecting missions. Seeds from one mission had already been stored in conventional storage (dried for four months at 15% relative humidity, 20 °C and stored for two months at 15% relative humdity, −20 °C), so a post-storage test was carried out. Seeds from the second mission were assessed freshly extracted and following desiccation. We used embryo rescue techniques to overcome the barrier of germinating in vivo Musa seeds. Seeds from the first mission had low viability (19 ± 27% mean and standard deviation) after storage for two months at 15% relative humidity and −20 °C. Musa balbisiana Colla seeds had significantly higher post-storage germination than other species (p < 0.01). Desiccation reduced germination of the seeds from the second collecting mission, from 84 ± 22% (at 16.7 ± 2.4% moisture content) to 36 ± 30% (at 2.4 ± 0.8% moisture content). There was considerable variation between and (to a lesser extent) within accessions, a proportion of individual seeds of all but one species (Musa ingens N.W.Simmonds) survived desiccation and sub-zero temperature storage. We identified that seeds from the basal end of the infructescence were less likely to be viable after storage (p < 0.001); and made morphological observations that identify seeds and infructescences with higher viability in relation to their developmental maturity. We highlight the need for research into seed eco-physiology of crop wild relatives in order to improve future collecting missions. View Full-Text
Keywords: banana; crop wild relatives; ex situ conservation; desiccation tolerance; Musa; Papua New Guinea; plant genetic resources; seed conservation; seed storage behaviour banana; crop wild relatives; ex situ conservation; desiccation tolerance; Musa; Papua New Guinea; plant genetic resources; seed conservation; seed storage behaviour
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kallow, S.; Longin, K.; Sleziak, N.F.; Janssens, S.B.; Vandelook, F.; Dickie, J.; Swennen, R.; Paofa, J.; Carpentier, S.; Panis, B. Challenges for Ex Situ Conservation of Wild Bananas: Seeds Collected in Papua New Guinea Have Variable Levels of Desiccation Tolerance. Plants 2020, 9, 1243. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9091243

AMA Style

Kallow S, Longin K, Sleziak NF, Janssens SB, Vandelook F, Dickie J, Swennen R, Paofa J, Carpentier S, Panis B. Challenges for Ex Situ Conservation of Wild Bananas: Seeds Collected in Papua New Guinea Have Variable Levels of Desiccation Tolerance. Plants. 2020; 9(9):1243. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9091243

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kallow, Simon; Longin, Kevin; Sleziak, Natalia F.; Janssens, Steven B.; Vandelook, Filip; Dickie, John; Swennen, Rony; Paofa, Janet; Carpentier, Sebastien; Panis, Bart. 2020. "Challenges for Ex Situ Conservation of Wild Bananas: Seeds Collected in Papua New Guinea Have Variable Levels of Desiccation Tolerance" Plants 9, no. 9: 1243. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9091243

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