Aglaonema (Araceae) is one of the most popular indoor plant genera due to its attractive foliar variegation and tolerance to drought and low light conditions (Chen et al., 2002). Commercial Aglaonema production almost exclusively starts from cuttings. Cutting propagation, however, may transmit pathogens from stock plants to cuttings. Additionally, some Aglaonema cultivars may host endogenous pathogens in their vascular tissue (Chase, 1997), which could make cuttings a source for carrying and spreading disease.
Tissue culture is preferable for rapid multiplication of healthy plants. However, endogenous microbial contamination is known to be one of the most serious problems in tissue culture of ornamental aroids, including Anthurium Lind. (Kunisaki, 1980), Dieffenbachia Schott (Brunner et al., 1995; Voyiatzi and Voyiatzis, 1989), Philodendron Schott (Fisse and Pera, 1987), Spathiphyllum Schott and Syngonium Schott (Kneifel and Leonhardt, 1992), and Zantedeschia Spreng. (Kritzinger et al., 1998). Conventional disinfection methods appear to be unsatisfactory because the initial explants are damaged during the long exposure to sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl), which is necessary for the efficient removal of contamination (Kunisaki, 1980). Internal contamination can be minimized or eliminated using antibiotics incorporated into the culture media (Kneifel and Leonhardt, 1992) or with pretreatment of explants before in vitro culture (Kritzinger et al., 1998). Environmentally friendly methods, such as reduced water supply to stock plants, may be an alternative to decrease endogenous pathogens (Debergh and Maene, 1981).
Culture media supplemented with cytokinins are crucial for shoot multiplication in aroids including Aglaonema (Hussein, 2004), Anthurium andreanum Lind. (Kunisaki, 1980), Dieffenbachia exotica Schott ‘Marianna’ (Voyiatzi and Voyiatzis, 1989), and Spathiphyllum floribundum L. (Ramirez-Malagon et al., 2001). Tissue culture has not been particularly successful with Aglaonema (Chen et al., 2003), and information in the literature is currently limited. Thus, the objectives of the present work were to develop a procedure for disinfection, to determine the effects of cytokinins on the shoot multiplication, and to evaluate the effects of auxins on ex vitro rooting of microcuttings in Aglaonema.
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