Storage of orchid pollinia with varying lipid thermal fingerprints - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew research repository
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Journal article

Storage of orchid pollinia with varying lipid thermal fingerprints

6 June 2020

Abstract

Orchid pollinia have the potential to make a valuable contribution to current techniques of germplasm storage and assisted reproduction, yet information regarding their preservation and their ability to remain viable over time is currently limited. Dactylorhiza fuchsii and Disa uniflora were used as models for investigating potential techniques for storing orchid pollinia. Initially, freshly harvested pollinia of Dact. fuchsii were incubated at 25 °C and 100% RH (relative humidity) for up to 7 days and germinated in vitro. For pollinia from both species, moisture sorption isotherms were constructed and thermal fingerprints generated using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). Pollinia were stored at three temperatures (5, − 18 and − 196 °C) after equilibration at four different RHs (5, 33, 50 and 75%) and germinated. The isotherms and DSC results varied between species. Compared with D. uniflora, pollinia of Dact. fuchsii consistently equilibrated at higher moisture content (MC) for each RH, had less detectable lipids by DSC and had shorter lifespans, remaining viable after 3–4 months only at − 20 and − 196 °C and at low RH (5 and 33%). Both species’ pollinia stored well at − 20 °C and − 196 °C, although there was some evidence of a small loss of viability under cryopreservation. In conclusion, pollen of these two species can be stored successfully for at least 3–4 months, and to maximize the pre-storage quality, it is recommended that fresh pollen is collected from flowers just prior to anthesis.

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