In this study, seven carbohydrates, namely, glucose, fructose, galactose, sucrose, maltose, raffinose and starch were screened for the most suitable carbon source for the in vitro culture of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq. var. tenera) zygotic embryos on the basal media of Murashige and Skoog (MS) (1962) and Eeuwen (Y3) (1976). The embryos were excised aseptically and cultured on both media containing the different carbohydrates. Results obtained showed that while both media supported in vitro plantlet regeneration from the embryo explants, Y3 medium was significantly superior to MS medium (P=0.05) in length of root and shoot of plantlets produced. Sucrose was also significantly (P=0.05) superior to glucose and maltose while starch, raffinose, fructose and galactose had the least value in all growth parameters studied. In addition, more uniform plantlets were produced in Y3 media in which sucrose served as carbon source relative to the other six carbon sources tested. The protocol reported here has potential for speeding up germination process within a short period of time for oil palm.
Key words: Elaeis guineensis, Eeuwen (Y3) medium, Murashige and Skoog (MS) (1962) medium, embryo explants, carbohydrates.
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