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ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #134975


item Volk, Gayle

Submitted to: Garlic Press
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/1/2002
Publication Date: 12/1/2002

Interpretive Summary: This newsletter article introduces the 1000+ subscribers to "The garlic press" to the garlic research program at the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation (NCGRP). It describes our studies on garlic storage at -5C and 0C, our cryopreservation work, as well as our genotyping studies that will determine the extent of duplication within the national garlic germplasm collection. By finding improved storage methods garlic bulbs, we can establish a back-up garlic collection at the NCGRP.

Technical Abstract: At the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation houses about 350,000 accessions of seeds and other regenerative plant materials as part of the National Plant Germplasm System. One of the goals of our Research Unit is to determine methods to store seeds, buds, or other vegetative materials (such as bulbs) for extended periods of time. Garlic accessions are not currently backed up at a federal facility (such as ours) since bulbs are much more difficult to store than seeds for extended periods of time. Ideally, we'd like to store materials at our facility indefinitely, and theoretically, we should be able to store and regenerate garlic plants from material that have been placed into liquid nitrogen via a process called cryopreservation. Preliminary results are promising. We have been able to remove the dormant shoots from cloves, sterilize them, and immerse them in liquid nitrogen after a few treatments with cryoprotectant solutions. After thawing, we place the 8 cu. mm shoot tips on sterile media, and observe the regrowth. We also have a project to determine how varietal garlics can be stored for more than just a few months. Our storage studies at 0 degrees C and at -5 degrees C have kept garlic accessions alive for more than a year, and we currently have some of these garlic varieties planted in field plots so the productivity of this stored material can be determined. We are also determining the extent of duplication of garlic accessions in the national collection by a "DNA fingerprinting" technique. We have cloves from all the garlic accessions in the Pullman garlic collection as well as some varieties commercially available. We'd like to determine how much genetic variability exists within these collections. We know that "identical" strains of garlic can appear and yield very differently dependent upon growing conditions and that different strains can respond similarly to some field conditions. Our genetic testing should allow us to determine the true genetic differences among garlic varieties.