Since conventional propagation of Ensete is time consuming, there was a need for optimization of tissue culture techniques for its rapid propagation. Research revealed that the encapsulated shoot tips can be handled like a seed, and could be useful in minimizing the cost of production, as 1 ml of medium is sufficient for encapsulation of a single shoot tip, compared to 15—20 ml for conversion of shoot tips into plantlets. By directly sowing the encapsulated shoot tips in soil, the two-stage process (such as rooting and hardening) can be eliminated. As compared to suckers, encapsulated shoot tips are inexpensive, and easier and safer material for germplasm exchange, maintenance, and transportation (Rao et al., 1993).
Recently multiple shoots were induced from in vitro cultures of male floral apices of Ensete superbum Cheesm. BAP (6-benzylaminopurine) in combination with GA3 (gibberellic acid) was found to be beneficial for the establishment of cultures, and the multiplication and elongation of shoots, while auxins were shown to promote rooting (Kulkarni et al., 1997). Thus, somatic embryogenesis offers an ideal system for the production of somatic embryos on a large scale for use in the preparation of synthetic seeds, propagation, and genetic transformation (Kulkarni, 1997).
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