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Christophe N. Kouamé, Hortense A. Djidji and Koffi Goli

Pepper (Capsicum spp.) is an important component of various cropping systems and dishes in Cote d'Ivoire. The need to meet local market demand has prompted the development of high-yielding hot pepper varieties. Three local selections and 20 AVRDC-introduced breeding lines were evaluated in a three-replicate randomized complete block design. Data were collected on fruit and plant characteristics as well as on fruit yield and yield components. Large variations were found in all studied variables. Date of 75% flowering occurred between 52 and 77 days after sowing. First harvest date varied from 99 to 134 days after sowing, while plant height at first harvest ranged from 42 to 92 cm. Fruit size and fruit form were quite diverse. Maximum total fresh fruit weight (5490 g/plot) was about 10 times higher than that of the lowest-yielding (557 g/plot) entry. Selection within those lines has potential to contribute to the improvement of pepper productivity in Cote d'Ivoire.

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Modeste Kan Kouassi, Jane Kahia, Christophe N’guessan Kouame, Mathias Gnion Tahi and Edmond Kouablan Koffi

The effect of plant growth regulators on callus and somatic embryogenesis induction in four Cocoa (Theobroma cacao) genotypes was studied. Flower explants were harvested early in the morning and cultured on Driver and Kuniyuki Walnut (DKW) medium supplemented with 1 mg·L−1 of five auxins type (2,4 dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), 3,4 dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (3,4-D), 2,4,5 trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T), 4-amino-3,5,6-trichloropicolinic acid (picloram), and 3,6-dichloro-2-methoxybenzoic acid (dicamba) in combination with 0.25 or 0.5 mg·L−1 of two cytokinins type (benzylaminopurine (BAP) and 6-furfurylaminopurine [kinetin (Kin)] in a factorial experiment. The plant growth regulators 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T proved to have a broad spectrum action on somatic embryogenesis induction compared with 3,4-D or picloram. There were no significant differences between the two concentrations of cytokinins. However, Kin was found to be more effective in promoting somatic embryogenesis than BAP. Combining 1 mg·L−1 2,4,5-T or 2,4-D with 0.25 mg·L−1 Kin had a broad spectrum action on embryogenesis induction. On the other hand, combining mg·L−1 picloram with 0.5 mg·L−1 Kin or 1 mg·L−1 3,4-D with 0.25 mg·L−1 Kin was only able to induce somatic embryogenesis in a few of the genotypes evaluated. The protocol developed during the current study differs from earleir works as the callus (derived from explants cultured on DKW media) was taken directly to embryo development media as opposed to earlier works in which the callus was taken through a secondary media before being transferred to an embryo development media.

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Margaret W. Kirika, Jane W. Kahia, Lucien N. Diby, Eliud M. Njagi, Colombe Dadjo and Christophe Kouame

Erythrina abyssinica (E. abyssinica) is a multipurpose tree and a well-known medicinal plant which is conventionally propagated mainly by seeds. This method may produce a high degree of genetic variability and consequently decrease the medicinal value of the plant. Besides, the seeds have low germination rate and propagation is restricted to rainy season. Hence, there is need to develop a propagation protocol which produces a uniform plants and one which is not restricted to seasons. The objective of this study was to establish an in vitro propagation protocol for the multiplication of E. abyssinica. Seeds were sterilized and germinated in vitro to get sterile starting explants. Sterilization of the seeds was evaluated using different concentrations of a commercial bleach (JIK) ranging from 10%, 20% to 30% for 25 minutes. Kinetin (2.25, 4.50, 6.75, and 9.0 mg/L), and benzylaminopurine (BAP; 2.15, 4.30, 6.46, and 8.61 mg/L) were evaluated in separate experiments for their effect to induce microshoots from nodal explants. Rooting of the microshoot was carried out using half strength Murashige and Skoog (MS) media supplemented with indolebutyric acid (IBA) (0.20, 0.51, and 1.02 mg/L). Statistical analysis software (SAS) package was used to perform analysis of variance on the data to test the significance of the difference between treatments. The result of the sterilization experiment indicated that 10% JIK gave the highest percentage (55%) of clean seeds. Benzylaminopurine evaluated at 8.61 mg/L gave the highest mean number of microshoots (6.80 ± 1.24) after 28 days. On the other hand, IBA evaluated at 0.51mg/L gave the highest mean root length (6.00 ± 01.85 cm). The regenerated plants were acclimatized in the greenhouse and 65% survival rate was recorded after one month. With the increasing worldwide demand for medicinal plants as an alternative to prescription drugs, ex situ, in situ conservation programs and true to type mass propagation of E. abyssinica could benefit from the findings of this study. This is the first report on micropropagation of E. abyssinica.

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Jane Kahia, Siaka Kone, Lucien Diby, Georges Ngoran, Colombe Dadjo and Christophe Kouame

Theobroma cacao L. (cacao) is a major tropical crop, grown for its oil-rich seed, which is used in the manufacture of chocolate, its derivatives, and cosmetics. Cacao is cultivated mainly by smallholders and represents a significant export commodity for some developing countries such as Côte d’Ivoire. It is conventionally propagated by seeds, grafting, and cuttings. Somatic embryogenesis offers an alternative method for propagation where large-scale production of planting materials is possible. In the current study, the effect of different concentrations of 2, 4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2, 4-D) and kinetin on induction of somatic embryogenesis and plantlet regeneration in two cocoa clones (coded as C1 and C14) were evaluated. Flowers were collected early in the morning, sterilized, explants excised and cultured on Driver, and Kuniyuki Walnut (DKW) media supplemented with different concentrations of 2, 4-D (9, 10, and 20 µM) and kinetin (0.5, 1, 2.5, 5, 10, and 25 µM) in separate experiments. The frequently used media in somatic embryogenesis of cacao [DKW supplemented with 0.022 µM thidiazuron (TDZ) and 9 µM 2, 4-D] was used as a control. The results of the study showed that explants cultured on media supplemented with 10 µM 2, 4-D and 5 µM kinetin produced the highest (28.0 ± 1.1) mean number of embryos/explant in C1 and this was a 9-fold increase in the number of embryos compared with the control. Explants cultured on media supplemented with 10 µM 2, 4-D and 2.5 µM kinetin produced the highest (7.0 ± 4.0) mean number of embryos/explant in C14 whereas the explants cultured on media supplemented with 20 µM 2, 4-D and 2.5 µM kinetin gave the highest (22.0 ± 1.7) mean number of embryos in clone C1 and C14. The regenerated embryos were germinated and successfully weaned in the green house with a survival rate of 70% being recorded. The paper describes an improved protocol compared with previous work in terms of embryo recovery and survival rate of the elite clones of cocoa through somatic embryogenesis. The results of the current study confirm that somatic embryogenesis of cacao clones is genotype dependent.

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Jane Kahia, Peter Kanze Sallah, Lucien Diby, Christophe Kouame, Margaret Kirika, Simeon Niyitegeka and Theodore Asiimwe

Cyphomandra betacea (Cav.) is commonly known as Tamarillo or tree tomato. This species is mainly used for its edible fruits which have a high nutritional value and contain relatively high amounts of proteins, vitamins B6, C, E, and provitamin A. The cultivation of Tamarillo in Rwanda is facing major challenges caused mainly by viral diseases such as Tamarillo mosaic virus (TaMV). These diseases are difficult to control and are transferred through vegetative propagation, often resulting in heavy productivity losses and poor-quality fruits. Thus, this study was conducted to evaluate the possibility of using tissue culture as an alternative propagation method. Tamarillo seeds were sterilized using a commercial bleach and germinated in vitro to get clean starting explants. Explants (hypocotyls, leaves, and roots) were cultured on semisolid Murashige and Skoog (MS) media supplemented with 6-benzylaminopurine (BA), N6-2-isopentyl adenine (2iP), 6-furfurylaminopurine (kinetin) evaluated at 5, 10, 20, 40 µM, and thidiazuron (TDZ), evaluated at 0.1, 0.5. 1.0 1.5 µM in separate experiments. Data were collected on the number of microshoots and roots 2 months after culture and analyzed using the Statistical Software for Social Sciences (SPSS) Software version 8. The results showed that the growth regulators evaluated had a significant (P ≤ 0.05) effect on plantlet regeneration from leaf and hypocotyl explants. The media supplemented with BA 40 μM was the most effective in inducing multiple shoots from leaf explants producing 4.67 ± 0.15 shoots per explant. Root explants showed the least morphogenic responses for all the parameters evaluated. The regenerated plantlets were transplanted to the greenhouse and a survival rate of 90% was recorded. During this study, a simple, reproducible, single-step protocol was developed. These results would be useful for mass propagation of Tamarillo.