The tissue culture and biology of bamboos with special reference to Dendrocalamus hamiltonii Munro
Bamboos are plants of economic importance that have flower rarely. The inability to obtain flowering material on a routine basis has hindered the scientific investigation of bamboo. Paucity of flowering and the resulting lack of seed has led to extreme difficulty in taxonomic work and large-scale propagation respectively. Tissue culture appears to offer potential methods to overcome the shortage of propagules. The micropropagation potential of bamboo seedling material was investigated. Both callus methods and in vitro cuttings of Dendrocalamus hamiltonii Munro were used. Although many explants produced callus, only one type of callus, derived from excised immature embryos, regularly regenerated shoots or plantlets. Only 6% of embryos cultured produced this callus type. The callus with shoot regeneration potential was phenotypically similar to that described in the literature as embryogenic, being both white and compact. Nodal cuttings from seedlings were also cultured in vitro. The potential rate of multiplication was not high. Most healthy cuttings produced only one shoot. Flowers emerged from about 10% of cultures on medium containing BAP, and this result was repeated. The quality of bamboo seed available for experimentation was low. Problems of infection were encountered when initiating cultures. A number of trials were undertaken to overcome these, but some level of infection had to be tolerated. In order to assess the full potential of bamboo tissue culture a critical literature was undertaken. Many experiments reported on appeared to have used poor designs, or reported results were either unclear or conclusions were difficult to justify based on the results. Above all else, there was little confidence that results were repeatable.