Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Journal November 26, 2014 - Bella Di Cerignola in vitro

Several weeks ago I came across an ad offering five seeds of a rare olive called Bella Di Cerignola.  The photo that accompanied the ad was of a huge red olive, so naturally I had to have the seeds. Since then, I have found that the olives are not red, but are turned red by some secret process, which I would rather not know anyway.   The olives can also be left green and processed like any other olive, which I would prefer.

Having only five seeds to work with, I decided to germinate some in vitro, and some in moist coffee filters, after having first removed the seeds from the drupe. 

The seeds in the moist coffee filters are turning black and have a white fungus of some sort growing on the seed coat.  Today, I decided to take a blade and scrape off the fungus and black coating from one seed.  In doing so, the seed coat came off also, which left a sort of white long cylindrically shaped seed.

Using the tip of the blade, I  carefully cut into the outside layer to a depth of about 1/64" to examine the very heart of the seed.  Inside I found the complete embryo, shown above.  The radicle can be seen on the right, attached to the undeveloped cotyledons.

Well, noting ventured, nothing gained, so I placed the embryo in a weak solution of sterile water and hydrogen peroxide to sterilize it.  

The embryo is now in vitro, and tomorrow I intend to do the same to the remaining seeds in coffee filters.  I may not remove the outside layers, as that may serve as a carbon source for the embryo, however, the media contains sugar, which is a carbon source.

In any event, it will be a learning experience,  which is what this is all about.
Obtaining plant material from seeds is a frustrating time consuming process, however, in some instances it is the only way to obtain an unusual varietal.  The rare variety shown above, was grown from seed started this year, it was well worth the effort.  Once you have a single plant, you can then clone as many as you wish. 

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