Paper Authors and Title
Philip Brennan (South East Technological University), Cara Daly, “Micropropagation of Solanum tuberosum varieties using low-cost alternative inputs”
Micropropagation is an established link in many horticultural value chains and has proven useful in addressing issues related to crop stability and conservation of endangered species. However, high costs associated with micropropagation projects can have a negative impact on uptake rates of the important plant production technique. The aim of this study is to determine whether economical alternatives can replace expensive laboratory-grade inputs without negatively affecting outcomes. Virus-free seed potatoes are produced via micropropagation in Ireland. Here, three varieties of Solanum tuberosum were initiated in vitro using a low-cost alternative (GelriteⓇ) to agar, supermarket own-brand caster sugar instead of expensive laboratory-grade sucrose, and economical alternatives to magenta pots and laminar flow cabinets. The success of the micropropagation methods was measured by comparing the development of shoots, nodes, and callus formation. It was found that recipes including each low-cost alternative input produced more shoots and nodes but less callus than conventional inputs. Significantly, recipes containing only low-cost alternative inputs produced shoots in 25% of the samples and 17% produced shoots with nodes, whereas recipes containing only high-cost inputs produced zero in either of those metrics. The results demonstrate that these alternatives can be used without detrimental effect on outcomes. This finding suggests that non-laboratory-grade (budget-friendly) options are available, making micropropagation a reduced-financial-risk endeavour for new horticulture enterprises in developed and developing countries. With this enhanced access to the technique, micropropagation by new entrants has the potential to make meaningful and valuable contributions to both the horticulture market and plant science research.