Taro (Colocasia esculenta L.) is a perennial, aquatic and semi-aquatic species, member of the family Araceae grown for its edible tuberous root. The application of conventional propagation techniques for taro could not produce the high demand and quality planting materials due to its low productive capacity and diseases transmission. Therefore, this study was carried out to develop micro-propagation protocol for Colocasia esculenta (cv. Bolosso I) from corm and sprout tip explants. Explants were collected from Areka Agricultural Research Center and were sterilized using different concentration of sodium hypochlorite solutions with different exposure times. Murashige and Skoog (MS) media supplemented with different types and concentrations of auxins and cytokinins were used for culture initiation, shoot multiplication and root induction experiments. Two percent NaOCl exposures for 15 and 20 min were found to be optimum for sterilization of sprout tip (83.33) and corm (66.63%) explants. Highest culture initiation was obtained on MS medium supplemented with 8 mg/L 6-benzyl amino purine (BAP) (81.33 and 76.67% for corm and sprout explants, respectively). A maximum average number of shoots (8.53/corm and 5.8/sprout explants) were obtained on MS+8 mg/L BAP and 3 mg/Lindole-3-acetic acid (IAA). The highest mean root number (6.9) and root length (11.25 cm) per plantlet were recorded on half strength MS media supplemented with 0.5 mg/L IAA and 1.5 mg/L IAA, respectively. Eighty percent survival efficiency was observed on the soil mix ratio of 1:2:2 (red soil: sand: coffee husk, respectively) without any sign in morphological variation to the mother plant during acclimatization. These result can be used for the development of mass propagation protocol which enable for large scale production of this highly demanded cultivar true-to-type and provide a foundation for further studies to generate genetically improved C. esculenta and related cocoyam species.
Key words: Explants, Murashige and Skoog (MS) media, plant growth regulators, sterilants, Taro plantlet.
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