A two-stage micropropagation system was devised for cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.). Shoot-tip explants taken from four cultivars of greenhouse-grown plants were placed on media composed of Anderson's major salts, Murashige and Skoog's (MS) minor salts and organics, plus various concentrations of 2iP, IBA, and GA3. In other experiments, explant source, salt formulations for media, and rooting treatments were studied. Optimal multiplication and shoot quality occurred when nodal explants taken from greenhouse-grown or micropropagated plants were placed on medium containing 150 μm 2iP, 1.0 μm IBA, and no GA3. Histological examination revealed that the initial response of nodes to culture is axillary bud proliferation, but adventitious shoot formation occurred after 4 to 6 weeks. Cultures that contained only axillary shoots were not evident unless low levels of 2iP were used, at which point only axillary buds present on the explants were released. Proliferated shoots could be rooted ex vitro without auxin treatment. Optimal rooting occurred under high-light conditions. Plants were transplanted to the field for comparison to conventionally propagated material. Chemical names used: gibberellic acid (GA3), N-(3-methyl-2-butenyl)-1H-purin-6-amine (2iP), 1H-indole-3-butanoic acid (IBA).
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