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Thread: Orchid Protocorms

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    白人看不懂 Drosera36's Avatar
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    Orchid Protocorms

    Hey everyone,

    I haven't been on in a while, but I just thought I'd share what I've been working on for a little while.

    I started an internship back in December with a professor that is friends with my family, and while I was doing that, I saw that a member here was giving away seeds. We were doing tissue culture in the lab at my internship, so I figured I might as well give it a shot.

    It was a success (so far), and here are some pics from today. Just so ya know, they're from a Cymbidium hybrid.

    The petri dishes with the seeds & a nutrient solution:


    The little green balls are the protocorms, and the white flecks are seeds that did not germinate.



    Some pics with a low powered microscope:



    There is an ungerminated seed above the two protocorms for comparison.

    Here's a pic taken with a camera-compatible microscope (edited with photoshop as the picture was washed out and dull):


    In case you were wondering why I didn't just plant them in soil, it's because they would not be able to produce any food to grow. When the seeds come out of the pod, they are extremely small and thin with an underdeveloped embryo, as opposed to the fully developed embryos in say beans or acorns. In nature, this embryo would become infected with a symbiotic fungus species that is living near the roots of the parent plant. The fungus would then provide food for the developing embryo as it grows.

    As it is difficult to get the specific fungus for the seeds in cultivation, you need to provide the seeds with some sort of nourishment. This is what the nutrient solution is for. This is just a simple mix of sucrose and other nutrients that we made, and that's mixed with agar to make a jelly-like substance.

    -Ben
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    Good work Ben! I like the pictures. Keep us posted as they develop.

    -Dave

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    herenorthere's Avatar
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    That's very cool. What's unusual about orchid seed isn't the development stage of the embryo, it's the lack of an endosperm, which is the food supply most seeds contain to give an embryo it's start in life.
    Bruce in CT

    Madness is something rare in individuals but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

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    白人看不懂 Drosera36's Avatar
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    Ohhhh ok I see. The botanist I worked with always said that the embryo was "underdeveloped"....

    -Ben
    He who can, does. He who can't, teaches. -George Bernard Shaw
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    herenorthere's Avatar
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    It doesn't matter whether the botanist knew that bit of orchid seed trivia. What's important is that the botanist taught you top notch tissue culture technique. My plant physiology professor wasn't into it and rushed us through it, so I never grew anything but mold or bacteria or whatever it was.
    Bruce in CT

    Madness is something rare in individuals but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

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    白人看不懂 Drosera36's Avatar
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    Yeah that's true. I sorta took it for granted just because I found tissue culture so easy to do, but she seemed surprised that I haven't had any mold on any of my dishes.

    -Ben
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    A yellow M&M Jefforever's Avatar
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    Did you have to jump though all the hoops of sterilization? That always turns me off to TC.

    I also thought the fungus did something more special, lol.

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    白人看不懂 Drosera36's Avatar
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    Well they have a pretty sophisticated set-up there, so it was pretty easy to do stuff.

    To sterilize the seeds, we just put them in a little container with bleach for ~5min and shook them. They have a pressure cooker, so that's where the agar solution went in to get sterilized.

    After that, we poured the liquid agar solution into dishes in a sterile hood which has a constant airflow to prevent colonization of bacteria & other small creatures.

    We didn't have to use tools to get the seeds onto the plates, but if we did, we would use ethanol and a burner to sterilize them, which is kinda cool.

    Then, we put this stretchy film stuff around the closed dish to limit airflow (can't remember what it's called, but you can see it in the first 2 pics).

    -Ben
    He who can, does. He who can't, teaches. -George Bernard Shaw
    I love these shirts!!!
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