SMALL FRUIT AND ORNAMENTAL GENETIC RESEARCH FOR THE MID-SOUTH
Location: Southern Horticultural Research
Title: In Vitro Assisted Breeding of Hedychium J. Koenig
Submitted to: Abstract of International Horticultural Congress
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: January 6, 2010
Publication Date: August 22, 2010
Citation: Sakhanokho, H.F., Rajasekaran, K., Tabanca, N., Sampson, B.J., Wedge, D.E., Islam-Faridi, N., Pounders Jr, C.T., Spiers, J.M., Nyochembeng, L.M. 2010. In Vitro Assisted Breeding of Hedychium J. Koenig. Abstract of International Horticultural Congress. 201.
Hedychium J. Koenig, one of the largest genera of Zingiberaceae, consists of species mostly native to central and southeastern Asia, southern China and the Himalayan region. These gingers are cultivated for their perfume essences. The essential oils of some species have been found to have insecticidal, antibacterial, and antifungal activities. These plants are increasingly being used as ornamentals worldwide because of their diverse and usually showy and scented flowers. They are planted in the landscape but generally too tall to be grown as potted plants. In 2004, a Hedychium breeding program was initiated at the USDA-ARS research station in Poplarville, Mississippi where new and efficient tissue culture protocols were developed for various in vitro manipulations, including the induction of polyploidy and mutagenesis in select cultivars and species. For example, tetraploidy was successfully induced in Hedychium muluense, one of the few dwarf species, using colchicine and oryzalin. In addition, variegated plants were obtained by induced in vitro somaclonal variation. Several studies were also carried out to investigate the biology of Hedychium pollen, including in vitro pollen germination, pollen nucleation, pollen:ovule ratio, and pollen ultrastructure. An in vitro pollen germination protocol using polyethylene glycol (PEG) was developed and successfully applied to germinate pollen in several Hedychium species and cultivars. This protocol also successfully assessed the viability of Hedychium pollen stored at various temperatures for various durations. These in vitro techniques are contributing to accelerate the development of new and improved Hedychium cultivars. Finally, using our efficient regeneration protocols (e.g. somatic embryogenesis), a transformation system is being developed to further broaden the possibilities for in vitro assisted breeding of Hedychium.