SOMATIC EMBRYOGENESIS: A Rapid Way To Multiply Coconut

SOMATIC EMBRYOGENESIS: A Rapid Way To Multiply Coconut
Plantlets produced through somatic ebryogenesis at the screenhouse of PCA, Albay Research Center. (Photo byCr. Cristeta A. Cueto)

Would you believe that Filipino scientists have now produced as many as 100 coconut seedlings from just one plumule or the young shoot that grows from the coconut seed?

That’s what they have achieved so far by employing the procedure called Coconut somatic embryogenesis technique or CSet. But with enhanced protocol, the researchers believe that as many as 1,000 seedlings could be produced from just one plumule.

SOMATIC EMBRYOGENESIS: A Rapid Way To Multiply Coconut
A laboratory techtnician shows the excision of coconut plumules (Photo by Dr. Maria Lourdes Cedo, UPLB)

This scientific breakthrough was achieved through a project funded by PCAARRD, an agency of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). PCAARRD stands for Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development.

SOMATIC EMBRYOGENESIS: A Rapid Way To Multiply Coconut
Mature somatic embryos (left) and the formation of shootlets at right. (Photo from Dr. Cristeta A. Cueto, PCA-Albay Research Center)

Aside from plumule, immature flowers and immature embryos can be used to produce new coconut plants for commercial planting.

The CSet project is tested and evaluated by a group of researchers from the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), University of the Philippines (UP), Bicol University (BU) and Visayas State University.

To date, more than 12,000 plumules have been extracted from superior mother trees. Tissue culture has already started with 56% efficiency adopting the enhanced PCA-CSet protocol in seven upgraded/equipped laboratories, namely: PCA Albay Research Center, PCA Zamboanga Research Center, UPLB, UP Mindanao, Bicol University College of Agriculture and Forestry, and Visayas State University.

The mass-propagated superior planting materials will be used to replace old senile trees, replant calamity-ravaged areas and for planting new areas.(Excerpted from a DOST STII press release)

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