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Research Project: Innovations that Improve the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Managing and Preserving Ex Situ Plant Germplasm Collections

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Title: Widespread applications of citrus cryopreservation

Author
item Volk, Gayle

Submitted to: Citrograph
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/3/2015
Publication Date: 3/3/2015
Citation: Volk, G.M. 2015. Widespread applications of citrus cryopreservation. Citrograph. 6(2):42-44.

Interpretive Summary: Citrus genetic resources can now be successfully cryopreserved, which means that they can be placed into long-term storage at liquid nitrogen temperatures. This cryopreservation technology was specifically developed to address the immediate need to have secure long-term back-up storage for citrus collections that are currently maintained as potted or field trees in industry, university, or USDA collections. In addition to its value for long-term conservation, cryopreservation has been shown to be a technology that can be used in other important applications. This article focuses on opportunities that may be possible, now that Citrus cryopreservation techniques are available to the research community. For example, cryopreserved citrus accessions can be maintained disease-free, without the risk of genetic mutations that may occur during repeated cycles of tissue culture. Cryopreservation technologies can also be applied to diseased materials, which may result in pathogen eradication, in a process called “cryotherapy”. For genetic improvement applications, cryopreservation may enhance transformation efficiency and plant regeneration. Finally, citrus pollen can be conserved, thus facilitating the use of novel parentage combinations in breeding programs. In effect, cryopreservation has become a tool that breeders, researchers, and industry can use to improve the efficiency, availability and profitability of citrus for years to come.

Technical Abstract: Citrus genetic resources can now be successfully cryopreserved, which means that they can be placed into long-term storage at liquid nitrogen temperatures. This cryopreservation technology was specifically developed to address the immediate need to have secure long-term back-up storage for citrus collections that are currently maintained as potted or field trees in industry, university, or USDA collections. In addition to its value for long-term conservation, cryopreservation has been shown to be a technology that can be used in other important applications. This article focuses on opportunities that may be possible, now that Citrus cryopreservation techniques are available to the research community. For example, cryopreserved citrus accessions can be maintained disease-free, without the risk of genetic mutations that may occur during repeated cycles of tissue culture. Cryopreservation technologies can also be applied to diseased materials, which may result in pathogen eradication, in a process called “cryotherapy”. For genetic improvement applications, cryopreservation may enhance transformation efficiency and plant regeneration. Finally, citrus pollen can be conserved, thus facilitating the use of novel parentage combinations in breeding programs. In effect, cryopreservation has become a tool that breeders, researchers, and industry can use to improve the efficiency, availability and profitability of citrus for years to come.