Applications and Limitations of Micropropagation for the Production of Underwater Grasses
ENGINEER RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER VICKSBURG MS
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Micropropagation is a technique that manipulates small quantities of axenic plant material, ranging from single cells to stem segments, under conditions favorable to the formation of new plants. It has proven to be the most efficient and cost-effective method of propagating large numbers of clonal offspring for many agronomic crops, including both herbaceous and woody perennial species. Older and simpler techniques of cloning plants are limited by seasonal constraints and the natural formation of new plant structures. Micropropagation, on the other hand, allows the year-round production of new plants at rates significantly higher than that achievable by all other methods. The plants produced are genetically uniform, vigorous, and free from associations with other organisms, an attribute particularly useful for the culture of underwater grasses where contaminating organisms can dominate other types of production systems. This technical note outlines the applications and limitations of micropropagation for the production of submersed aquatic vascular plants used for habitat restoration, experimentation, and education. Submersed aquatic vascular plants are unique members of the plant kingdom because they are secondarily adapted to life underwater. The compliment of adaptations, both anatomical and physiological, that allows terrestrial plants to balance the need to conserve water against the need to obtain inorganic carbon from the atmosphere was driven by the distinct differences between the aquatic and gaseous environments. Those flowering vascular plants that returned exclusively to underwater environments successfully adapted this terrestrial architecture to the aquatic environment. This occurred well in advance of human influences on water quality. Many of the applications of micropropagation to submersed aquatic angiosperms or underwater grasses are a result of the need to manipulate these plants under conditions that are unique and often less than optimal.
- Agronomy, Horticulture and Aquiculture