(234) Aesculus Pollen Viability and Longevity under Frozen Storage

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  • 1 1The Ohio State University, Horticulture and Crop Science, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Wooster, OH, 44691
  • | 2 2The Ohio State University, Horticulture and Crop Science, Columbus, OH, 43210

The genus Aesculus (buckeyes and/or horsechestnuts) is composed of 13 species and a number of interspecific hybrids. Pollen from 11 genotypes from five Aesculus species and the hybrid Aesculus ×carnea were used to develop an in-vitro germination test to evaluate pollen viability under various storage treatments. This test was optimized using samples of both fresh pollen and pollen that had been stored up to 1 year. The most effective medium contained 20% sucrose, 100 mg·L-1 H2BO3, 150 mg·L-1 Ca(NO3)2, and 1% agar. The highest germination percentage was observed at 15 °C across all storage treatments. Fresh pollen germinated in excess of 80% over a wide range of germination temperatures. Based on this, all specimens studied would be good pollen parents. The differences in pollen germination between storage at -20 and -80 °C were nonsignificant, but the duration of the storage period was highly significant. At 3 months, viability remained above 60% for four of the six species/hybrid tested. However, at 12 months, all pollen tested dropped below the threshold for good fruit set based on in-vitro pollen germination. Based on these observations, short-term pollen storage may permit crosses between parents with temporally separate flowering phenologies. However, conventional storage procedures are inadequate to maintain pollen collected from a male parent for crosses in subsequent growing seasons.

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