Bambusa oldhamii Munro, also known as “green timber bamboo,” is a well-known semitropical clumping bamboo species native to Taiwan and southern China (Hsu et al., 2000a). Because of its large size (up to 16.5 m high with culms as thick as 10 cm), it is grown commercially for timber and wood-related products. In addition, its very young green shoots are edible and considered to be a culinary delicacy in Taiwan. A serious problem in the commercial cultivation of B. oldhamii is the prevalence of viral disease, bamboo mosaic virus (BaMV). This virus can reduce quality and cause as much as a 50% decrease in yield (Hsu et al., 2000b). In vitro virus-free systems that promote the successful regeneration of plants have contributed significantly to crop improvement by overcoming many of the limitations of in vivo propagation systems. In previous studies, the researchers used seeds, seedlings, or reproductive explants to establish somatic embryogenesis (Yeh and Chang, 1986) and multiple shoots proliferation (Kapoor and Rao, 2006; Nadgauda et al., 1990; Sood et al., 2002). However, it is very difficult to obtain bamboo reproductive tissues in the field. Lin and Chang (1998) used field-grown vegetative shoot meristems to induce multiple shoots in vitro, which were subsequently used as explants to establish somatic embryogenesis in B. edulis Munro (Lin et al., 2004). This method could provide the healthy plantlets without any seasonal limitations.
Unlike B. edulis, in our preliminary investigation, the multiple shoot proliferation of B. oldhamii is very low when these shoots were incubated on semisolid medium. The same problem also occurred in Guadua angustifolia (Jiménez et al., 2006). We report here an efficient protocol using in vitro shoot meristem culture to establish a BaMV-free micropropagation for B. oldhamii. We also report the in vivo flowering and the production of albino mutants in B. oldhamii.
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