Innovative macropropagation techniques of plantain (Musa AAB), applicable to small scale farmers

Innovative macropropagation techniques of plantain (Musa AAB), applicable to small scale farmers

John Opata, Paul Melichar, Martin Hegele, Beloved Mensah Dzomeku, Jens Wünsche

John Opata gave an oral presentation on “Innovative macropropagation techniques of plantain (Musa AAB), applicable to small scale farmer”. The presentation was held at the ELLS Scientific Student Conference  in Prag, Czech Republic on November 13 – 14, 2015

Abstract:

Plantain (Musa AAB) is an important food crop in Ghana. It is grown widely in almost all the agro-ecological zones except the Savanna region. Despite the significance of the crop, there have been major challenges getting healthy and clean planting materials to establish productive and sustainable plantations. Traditionally, farmers in Sub Saharan Africa use suckers and corms which in most cases are infested with pest and diseases. In addressing this major challenge, macropropagation trial was carried out at the Crops Research Institute in Kumasi, Ghana using two major plantain cultivars, ‘Apantu’ and ‘Apem’ which are known to be recalcitrant in terms of generating young shoots. A technique was used that carefully removes all leaf sheaths of the young sucker and then mechanically destroys the apical meristem which suppresses apical dominance and activates the latent buds. The explants were further treated with hormonal solutions obtained from immature coconut water and flesh in combination with green papaya pulp containing papain. These treatments were compared to Benzylaminopurine as commercial standard. The results reveal considerable potential of these natural hormone-based treatments and may prove as an efficient method of multiplying healthy planting materials for plantain. The cultivar ‘Apantu’ which is widely cultivated in all growing regions of Ghana responded well producing significantly higher number of plants than the cultivar ‘Apem’. The results indicate that farmers can to a large extent use the method to produce large quantities of uniform planting materials throughout the year. The results of the studies also reveal that old mother corms are potential sources for plant multiplication.

Contact: John Opata, University of Hohenheim, Institute of Crop Science, Section Crop Physiology of Specialty Crops, Emil-Wolff-Str. 25, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany

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