In vitro conservation of selected endangered plant species indigenous to the Cape Floristic Region, South Africa
This study focused on optimising four types of in-vitro conservation methods, namely: 1), micropropagation, 2) in-vitro slow growth, 3) seed germination and 4) cryopreservation for selected endangered plant species indigenous to the Cape Floristic Region. It is one of the targets set by United Nations millennium development goals, to integrate different conservation measures in order to preserve plant diversity and mitigate losses of genetic diversity. Therefore this study uses Phalaenopsis hybrids as a trial species that can be studied for the conservation of endangered Disa and Eulophia species through micropropagation and in vitro slow growth. Also conservation attempts on Leucadendron and Mimetes species that occur in the Cape Floristic Region were attemted to increase population densities by increasing germination percentages using smoke. Furthermore, the study attempted to store seeds by assessing different cooling rates for optimising cryopreservation measures for effective conservation. The use of tissue culture to increase propagules especially critically endangered species in South African has proven to be feasible. For the trial hybrids, shoot and protocorm explants of Phalaenopsis Psychosis Pink X P. No. 1; P. Large white X P. Large pink; P. No. 1 X P. Large pink; P. Mini pink X Brighton belle; and the P. aphrodite formed clusters of protocorms and shoots when cultured on ½ strength MS media supplemented with 10, 20 and 30gL-1 banana extract or ½ strength Murashige and Skoog, (1962) (MS) media supplemented with peptone. Continuous protocorms formation could therefore be obtained by culturing endangered Disa and Eulophia shoots and protocorms on banana containing media. Plantlet conversion from somatic embryos produced on 10gL-1 banana extract enriched media was successfully achieved on ½ strength MS supplemented with 20gL-1 sucrose and no plant growth regulators in the medium. However, optimum rooting was achieved on ½ strength MS supplemented with 30gL-1 of banana extract and this medium yielded the highest survival percentages for plantlet acclimatisation. Furthermore, ½ strength MS supplemented with 1gL-1 of peptone served as a stimulant for shoot development and protocorm formation. When coupled with banana extract at all stages of development, regeneration and rooting were enhanced.