Recent achievements on date palm micropropagation

C. Sudhersan, S. Jibi Manuel, L. Al-Sabah, S. Al-Melhem
Plant tissue culture technology has been extensively applied for the micropropagation of date palms in the arid regions. Elite date palm cultivars are micropropagated for establishing new commercial plantations. Somatic embryogenesis and organogenesis are the two pathways commonly used in date palm micropropagation. These two regeneration methods are manupulated by the growth hormones in different concetrations and combinations. Long tem growth hormone usage during micropropagation process caused physiological disorders such as delayed flowering, production of abnormal inflorescences, dwarfing and pollen incompatability in the field grown micropropagated date palms. These physiological disorders in the field grown microrpopagated date palms caused customer insatisfaction. Quality ensurence on uniform growth, early flowering and high yield from micropropagated palms without any physiological disorders in the field will support the markeing of micropropagated plants and survival of commercial laboratories. In our laboratory in Kuwait, for the last 25 years, date palm micropropagation integrated with field evaluation was carried out. More than 40 date palm cultivars were micropropagated and maintained in our date palm orchard. Through all the data collected during the long-term laboratory operations and field evaluation in commercial farms, recently, we have developed innovative techniques on low cost date palm micropropagation without compramising in quality of the product. The new developments are: 1. Reduction in 2 years requirement for plant production to 1 year, 2. Minimal usage of groth hormones only during initiation, 3. New liquid media for growth and multiplication, 4. Inverted culture technique for plantlet growth, elogation and hardening, and 5. Photoautotropic culture before greenhouse transfer. The micropropagated date palm plantlets produced through our new system showed 100% survival and were healthy in the greenhouse due to the development of leaf cuticle, functional chloroplasts and stomata during the in vitro culture process. No physiological disorders were observed in our experimental field containing 5,000 micropropagated date palms. The detals of our study are presented.
Sudhersan, C., Jibi Manuel, S., Al-Sabah, L. and Al-Melhem, S. (2020). Recent achievements on date palm micropropagation. Acta Hortic. 1299, 455-460
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1299.68
Phoenix dactylifera, inverted culture technique, physiological disorders, commercialization

Acta Horticulturae