A combination of vermiculite and paper pulp supporting material for the photoautotrophic micropropagation of sweet potato

F. Afreen-Zobayed, S. M.A. Zobayed, C. Kubota, T. Kozai, O. Hasegawa

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A mixture of vermiculite (hydrous silicates) and paper pulp (waste product of paper industry) was used as a supporting material for the in vitro photoautotrophic micropropagation of plantlets. Sweet potato was used as a model plant to find out the appropriate proportion of vermiculite and paper pulp for the optimum growth of the plantlets. The plantlets grown in the conventional supporting material, agar, were used as the control. The study revealed that in all aspects, the plantlets grown in vermiculite mixed with 30% (w/w) paper pulp exhibited the highest growth performance. The shoot and root fresh mass were x 2.7 greater than those in agar (control); the leaf, stem and root dry mass were also greater and at least two fold in this treatment compared with those in the control. The net photosynthetic rate per plantlet was highest in this treatment, and on day 20 it was 15.3 μmol CO2 h-1 as compared with 9.8 μmol CO2 h-1 in the control. The growth of both shoots and roots decreased gradually with the increase or decrease of percentage of paper pulp in the supporting material. In general, the growth was significantly poorer in the plantlets grown in 100% vermiculite than that in vermiculite mixed with 30% paper pulp but still greater than in the control. The porosity of the supporting materials increased with the increase in the percentage of paper pulp in the supporting material. After transplanting to the ex vitro condition the survival percentage did not vary significantly (90-100%) among the treatments, except in control where it was only 73%. The number of unfolded leaves and the stem height were similar among the treatments except those in the control. (C) 2000 Published by Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-231
Number of pages7
JournalPlant Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 22 2000



  • Agar
  • Ex vitro
  • Florialite
  • In vitro
  • Porosity
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science

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