Cryopreservation of mature dormant vegetative buds is a useful method to preserve germplasm of a large number of cold hardy apple cultivars. However, cold tender cultivars have proven to be much more difficult to cryopreserve. Eight cultivars were harvested in September 1993 at Geneva, NY before developing cold hardiness naturally. The twigs were encapsulated with 5% alginate and treated with stepwise imbibition of 0.5 to 1.0 M sucrose. The samples were desiccated over glycerol at 0C. Half of the samples were plunged directly into liquid nitrogen (IN) and the other half were first cooled slowly to -30C. The twigs that had been exposed to prefreezing conditions showed the highest survival (20 to 100%). The samples that were plunged directly in LN survived poorly (0 to 20 %). Samples without encapsulation and no sucrose imbibition had 0% survival. We conclude that this protocol opens up the possibility to expand cryopreservation of cold tender apple cultivars, presently grown only in field gene banks, at great expense and inconvenience.
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