Australian Journal of Botany Australian Journal of Botany Society
Southern hemisphere botanical ecosystems

In vitro uptake of minerals by Gypsophila paniculata and hybrid eucalypts, and relevance to media mineral formulation

Karleen Gribble, Jann P. Conroy, Paul Holford and Paul J. Milham

Australian Journal of Botany 50(6) 713 - 723
Published: 12 December 2002


Despite the importance of mineral nutrition for plantlet growth in vitro, there have been few studies on mineral uptake from growth media or on optimising the media used in tissue culture. As plants in vitro experience abnormal growth conditions and may not possess roots, they may use different mechanisms of mineral uptake than plants growing ex vitro. To examine this possibility, plantlets of Gypsophila paniculata were grown on media in which the K or Ca concentration was varied. Mineral analysis showed a linear relationship between concentrations of K or Ca in the growth medium and plantlet tissues, suggesting uptake is by passive diffusion. However, interactions occurred between K, Ca and Mg uptake; therefore, other mechanisms are also likely to be involved in regulating mineral concentrations in tissue. The study also demonstrated that critical mineral concentrations could be estimated by using tissue-culture systems, as the concentration ranges of K and Ca in vitro correlated well with data for a related species ex vitro. This knowledge of critical concentrations, in conjunction with tissue analysis and ion speciation modelling, can be used to optimise in vitro mineral formulations through cycles of culture, tissue analysis and medium reformulation. To test this proposal, plantlets of Eucalyptus europhylla × grandis were grown on a proprietary medium formulation (SEM) and one modified as a result of tissue analysis (MEM). Plantlets cultured on SEM had chlorotic leaves and serious mineral imbalances. In contrast, plantlets cultured on MEM were not chlorotic, had more uniform growth and a more balanced mineral content. However, modification of mineral concentrations in the culture medium did not always result in similar changes in plant tissues. These differences in the proportions of minerals in the medium and those in the plant indicate that there are interactions between minerals in the medium and/or between minerals and the agar matrix that influence mineral availability and uptake.

© CSIRO 2002

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