African Journal of

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Biotechnol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1684-5315
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJB
  • Start Year: 2002
  • Published Articles: 12291

Full Length Research Paper

Cassava starch as an alternative cheap gelling agent for the in vitro micro-propagation of potato (Solanum tuberosum L.)

  Kuria, P.1*, Demo, P.2, Nyende, A. B.1 and Kahangi, E. M.1      
  1Department of Horticulture, Faculty of Agriculture, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, P.O. Box 62000-00200 Nairobi, Kenya. 2International Potato Centre (CIP), Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Office P.O. Box25171-00603 Nairobi, Kenya.  
Email: [email protected]

  •  Published: 05 February 2008



The potential of cassava starch as an alternative and cheap gelling agent for potatoin vitro culture micro-propagation media was investigated. A two-factor experiment in randomized complete block design was conducted. Four levels of gelling agents; 10% (w/v) cassava starch, 8% cassava starch mixed with 0.25% agar, 0.8% agar and a liquid medium, were evaluated using three selected Kenyan potato cultivars (Tigoni, Asante and Kenya Sifa). Cassava starch at 10% gave adequate support of explants, though it had low viscosity and softened at 42 days after explant inoculation. Cassava starch mixed with 0.25% agar provided the same firmness as 0.8% agar and maintained gel integrity throughout the culturing period of 84 days. Survival in- and ex vitro was lowest in liquid medium culture. Potato transplants from the liquid medium and cassava starch gelled medium had similar (p > 0.05) mean number of nodes and biomass. These mean values were significantly higher compared to the transplants from the agar gelled medium. The use of 10% cassava starch reduced cost by 42.5% in comparison with use of agar.


Key words: Cassava starch, gelling agents, micro-propagation, transplants, potato.