The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of multiple nutrient salt formulations and different plant growth regulator concentrations on initiation and proliferation of axillary shoot culture of tropical hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis L.). Combinations of five thidiazuron (TDZ) concentrations (0, 10-6, 10-7, 10-8, or 10-9 M) in conjunction with two 6-benzylaminopurine (BA) concentrations (0, 10-5 M) and two indole-3-butryic acid (IBA) concentrations (0, 10-5 M) were compared to determine which plant growth regulator combination(s) would stimulate the proliferation of the most viable axillary shoots. Also, five nutrient salt formulations (MS, 1/2 MS; Macro MS, WPM, LP, or DKW) ranging from high to low salt formulations were studied to determine a suitable nutrient medium formulation for axillary shoot proliferation. Nodal explants that were 2 cm in length were used to initiate cultures and were maintained on the various medium treatments plus 30 g·L-1 sucrose and 7 g·L-1 agar at a pH of 5.8. Explants were incubated about 30 cm beneath cool-white fluorescent lamps that provide a photon flux of about 40 μM·m-2·s-1 for a 16-hour photoperiod at 25 ± 3 °C. Nodal explants were transferred every 3 weeks for a total culture period of 12 weeks. At each transfer date data were collected on node number, axillary shoot number and length. Initial results indicate that high nutrient salt formulations coupled with low TDZ concentrations performed better at axillary shoot initiation. Poor shoot elongation was observed and further research needs to be performed to address this issue.
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