Storage and Viability Testing of Protea Pollen

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Agricultural Research Council, Vegetable and Ornamental Plant Institute, Private Bag X1, Elsenburg 7607, South Africa

The influence of storage temperature and humidity on pollen viability was studied in four Protea species. Pollen was stored at a range of temperatures and relative humidities for up to 1 year and tested for ability to germinate in vitro. Pollen of P. repens (L.) L. `Sneyd', P. eximia (Salisb. ex Knight) Fourcade `Fiery Duchess' and P. magnifica Link. clone T 84 07 05 stored at -196 °C and -14 to -18 °C retained a germination percentage as high as that of fresh pollen regardless of humidity. Humidity control became increasingly important at storage temperatures above 0 °C. The study showed that long-term storage of Protea pollen is not feasible at temperatures above 0 °C. The relationship between germinability and fluorochromasia (FCR) was studied during storage of `Sneyd' pollen. The correlations between FCR and germinability were found to be low and nonsignificant. Fifteen-month-old cryopreserved `Sneyd' pollen functioned in fertilization and seed set as effectively as fresh pollen.

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