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Queensland University of Technology (2012)

Development of a transformation system for sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L.)

Sant, Rajnesh R. Prasad

Titre : Development of a transformation system for sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L.)

Auteur : Sant, Rajnesh R. Prasad

Université de soutenance : Queensland University of Technology

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2012

Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) is the world’s fifth major cereal crop and holds importance as a construction material, food and fodder source. More recently, the potential of this plant as a biofuel source has been noted. Despite its agronomic importance, the use of sorghum production is being constrained by both biotic and abiotic factors. These challenges could be addressed by the use of genetic engineering strategies to complement conventional breeding techniques. However, sorghum is one of the most recalcitrant crops for genetic modification with the lack of an efficient tissue culture system being amongst the chief reasons. Therefore, the aim of this study was to develop an efficient tissue culture system for establishing regenerable embryogenic cell lines, micropropagation and acclimatisation for Sorghum bicolor and use this to optimise parameters for genetic transformation via Agrobacterium-mediated transformation and microprojectile bombardment.
Using five different sorghum cultivars, SA281, 296B, SC49, Wray and Rio, numerous parameters were investigated in an attempt to establish an efficient and reproducible tissue culture and transformation system. Using immature embryos (IEs) as explants, regenerable embryogenic cell lines (ECLs) could only be established from cultivars SA281 and 296B. Large amounts of phenolics were produced from IEs of cultivars, SC49, Wary and Rio, and these compounds severely hindered callus formation and development. Cultivar SA281 also produced phenolics during regeneration. Attempts to suppress the production of these compounds in cultivars SA281 and SC49 using activated charcoal, PVP, ascorbic acid, citric acid and liquid filter paper bridge methods were either ineffective or had a detrimental effect on embryogenic callus formation, development and regeneration. Immature embryos sourced during summer were found to be far more responsive in vitro than those sourced during winter. In an attempt to overcome this problem, IEs were sourced from sorghum grown under summer conditions in either a temperature controlled glasshouse or a growth chamber. However, the performance of these explants was still inferior to that of natural summer-sourced explants.
Leaf whorls, mature embryos, shoot tips and leaf primordia were found to be unsuitable as explants for establishing ECLs in sorghum cultivars SA281 and 296B. Using the florets of immature inflorescences (IFs) as explants, however, ECLs were established and regenerated for these cultivars, as well as for cultivar Tx430, using callus induction media, SCIM, and regeneration media, VWRM. The best in vitro responses, from the largest possible sized IFs, were obtained using plants at the FL-2 stage (where the last fully opened leaf was two leaves away from the flag leaf). Immature inflorescences could be stored at 25oC for up to three days without affecting their in vitro responses. Compared to IEs, the IFs were more robust in tissue culture and showed responses which were season and growth condition independent.
A micropropagation protocol for sorghum was developed in this study. The optimum plant growth regulator (PGR) combination for the micropropagation of in vitro regenerated plantlets was found to be 1.0 mg/L BAP in combination with 0.5 mg/L NAA. With this protocol, cultivars 296B and SA281 produced an average of 57 and 13 off-shoots per plantlet, respectively. The plantlets were successfully acclimatised and developed into phenotypically normal plants that set seeds. A simplified acclimatisation protocol for in vitro regenerated plantlets was also developed. This protocol involved deflasking in vitro plantlets with at least 2 fully-opened healthy leaves and at least 3 roots longer than 1.5 cm, washing the media from the roots with running tap water, planting in 100 mm pots and placing in plastic trays covered with a clear plastic bag in a plant growth chamber. After seven days, the corners of the plastic cover were opened and the bags were completely removed after 10 days. All plantlets were successfully acclimatised regardless of whether 1:1 perlite:potting mix, potting mix, UC mix or vermiculite were used as potting substrates.


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