Safe conservation of taro germplasm by management of microbial contaminants in the In Vitro Gene Bank

Date Posted: 15-10-2020

Genetic resources of tuber crops, including 90 accessions taro [Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott], are conserved since more than two decades, at the In Vitro Gene Bank (IVGB) of Tissue Culture and Cryopreservation Unit (TCCU) of ICAR-NBPGR, New Delhi. In vitro cultures of taro conserved using slow growth strategies, had started senescing due to overgrowth of covert endophytic bacteria. A research of nearly three years showed that antibiotics were ineffective in controlling endophytic bacterial infection in the taro cultures.

Our recent publication in the journal ‘In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology- Plants’ addresses the above problem of bacterial contamination encountered in some species conserved in the IVGB. At the outset, identity of the bacteria (Ralstonia spp. and Paenibacillus spp.) in the taro cultures was established through 16s rDNA sequencing. Thereafter, a new strategy for rescue and revival of taro cultures by in vitro micro-corm induction, field hardening and re-establishment was standardized. Using this protocol, germplasm accessions of taro, free from bacterial infection, are now being safely conserved in IVGB and Cryogenebank of ICAR-NBPGR, New Delhi.

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Srivastava V., D.K. Nerwal, A. Kandan, J. Akhtar, N. Sharma, R. Kiran, S. Bansal and A. Agrawal (2020) Management of microbial contaminants in the In Vitro Gene Bank: a case study of taro [Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott]. In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology - Plant.

(Source Officer-in-Charge, TCCU, ICAR-NBPGR, New Delhi