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Micropropagation and in vitro grafting of pistachio

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Authors: E. García, P. Lorente, J.A. Marín, A. Arbeloa y P. Andreu
Issue: 106-4 (294-302)
Topic: Plant Production
Keywords: Pistacia vera, P. terebinthus, in vitro culture.

Pistachio culture is becoming highly interesting in Spain, where traditional crops as grape and olive have reduced their profitability. However, its expansion is hampered by both the difficulty of propagation by grafting of varieties of interest and by the lack of a clonal selected rootstock. The application of in vitro culture techniques would allow the clonal propagation of Pistacia species, as well as to perform in-depth studies of the problems affecting grafting. In vitro techniques provide an effective and flexible experimental model that allows us monitoring the graft union during the initial stages, when lack of affinity symptoms are most likely to appear. In vitro P. vera cultures were initiated from nodal explants, whereas cultures of P. terebinthus were initiated from seeds germinated in vitro. The in vitro multiplication rate of both species was close to 2 shoots per shoot every 3 weeks. A high rooting percentage (82%) of P. terebinthus was obtained in a modified WPM medium and plants were successfully transplanted to the greenhouse. Shoot apices of P. vera of 10-20 mm length were grafted in vitro on rooted or unrooted shoots of P. terebinthus in which the apex was removed and the evolution of the graft unions was studied. Over 70% of the grafted plants survived during the firts 3-5 weeks and some plants continued their growth in the greenhouse. Similarly, control self-grafted P. terebinthus were studied. Homografts showed that the technique of grafting in vitro is promising but should be improved in future works.

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