In vivo and in vitro pollen maturation in Lilium: influence of carbohydrates

Christophe Clement, Daniel Al-Awad, Jean C. Audran


The purpose of this study was to develop a protocol for in vitro conform pollen maturation, as a model to study the involvement of carbohydrates on pollen maturation in Lilium. In vivo and in vitro pollen maturations were followed and compared by transmission electron microscopy, and several in vitro parameters were tested in terms of carbohydrate physiology. In vivo, pollen maturation was initiated at the vacuolated microspore stage, and consisted of two successive phases. The first phase was characterized by reactivation of microspore organelles, followed by microspore mitosis, starch synthesis and vacuole breakdown. During the second phase, starch was progressively degraded whereas lipid and phytine reserves accumulated. In vivo, pollen maturation occured within 14 days and pollen germination rate was 73.6 ± 2.2%. We then attempted to realise in vitro pollen maturation starting from the vacuolated microspore stage. The best results were obtained with flower buds cultivated at 26oC, in 100 µmol/m2/s light, with a 16h/8h photoperiod on a modified Heller's medium supplemented with NAA (10-2 mg/l) and sucrose (M/6). In these conditions, pollen maturation occured within 7 days only. In vitro matured pollen is cytologically comparable to in vivo developed pollen grains and the germination rate was 72.4 ± 3.7%. When flower buds were cultivated in the dark, the germination rate decreased, but this could be compensated by providing high sucrose concentrations (1M) in the medium. Further, photosynthesis inhibitors had the same effect on pollen maturation than the darkness, strongly suggesting that photosynthesis occurs in the flower bud and is important for pollen maturation in Lilium.


pollen maturation; cytology; in vitro; Lilium; pollen mitosis

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