IN VITRO HARDENING OF STRAWBERRY, FRAGARIA ×ANANASSA, USING POLYETHYLENE GLYCOL-STAGE 3

in HortScience

Polyethylene glycol (PEG) was evaluated for its influence on hardening of in vitro-propagated `Fern' strawberries (Fragaria ×ananassa) when applied just before transplanting. Strawberries were micropropagated via shoot tips and grown in vitro until roots were well developed. Plantlets were then transferred onto filter paper bridges in liquid medium with 15% (w/v) of PEG-8000. After treatment in the medium for various periods, the plants were compared to the control (no PEG) for water loss from detached leaves, stomatal aperture, and survival rates after transplanting. Leaf epicuticular wax was also quantified. Overall, the in vitro PEG treatment was not successful in significantly increasing hardiness and survivability of the strawberry plants after transplanting from in vitro conditions to a soil medium. Osmotic stress was created, but apparently not for the time needed to increase survival. Further tests are needed to pinpoint the proper exposure time required to increase hardiness and survivability after transplanting plantlets. To increase survival, the time exposed to PEG should be 15, 18, or possibly 21 days.

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