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Fruit, Vegetable and Cereal Science and Biotechnology ©2007 Global Science Books

A Review of Protocols for Macropropagation in Musa Species

K. P. Baiyeri* • S. C. Aba

Department of Crop Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria
Corresponding author: *,

Bananas and plantains (Musa spp.) are the most important tropical fruit crops. They are staple food in most part of the humid tropics and
important source of rural income for the smallholders who produce them in compound farms. A common limiting factor to large-scale
production of Musa crops and expansion of existing plantations is the difficulty in obtaining planting materials. This is due to poor
suckering ability accentuated by the strong hormone-mediated apical dominance exerted by the main plant. Rapid production of propa-
gating materials could be achieved through various vegetative multiplication techniques, including micro-propagation, but micro-propa-
gation is not an option for the traditional small-scale farmers in the humid tropics. Therefore, several macropropagation techniques have
been developed, such as field decapitation, excised bud, and the detached corm techniques. These techniques are relatively simple and
require minimum investment to set up, and plantlets obtained thereof, have the uniformity of tissue-culture plantlets. However, rootless
explants obtained through macropropagation have lower survival rate during the acclimatization and stabilization stages in the nursery
compared to tissue-culture plantlets. Several organic nursery substrates have been developed for optimum performance of Musa explants
in the nursery. Musa plantlets require a warm, humid, and translucent nursery environment to allow the plantlets stabilize and escape
desiccation. These conditions can be met by raising plantlets under green polyethylene chamber or under palm frond shade as commonly
practiced in tropical sub-Saharan Africa. Above all, nursery substrates must be composted for at least eight weeks before use, and rooted
explants should be preferred during nursery planting. Other valuable options discussed include nutrient, moisture and shade management.

Keywords: mass propagation, Musa planlets, nursery management, organic substrate


INTRODUCTION...................................................................................................................................................................................... 110
MACROPROPAGATION TECHNIQUES ................................................................................................................................................ 111
Field decapitation techniques ................................................................................................................................................................ 111
Excised bud technique (EBT)................................................................................................................................................................ 111
Detached corm multiplication techniques.............................................................................................................................................. 112
NURSERY MANAGEMENT OF MACROPROPAGATED Musa PLANTLETS .................................................................................... 112
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS ........................................................................................................................................ 113
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ....................................................................................................................................................................... 114
REFERENCES........................................................................................................................................................................................... 114

INTRODUCTION decline in plantain and banana production over the years
has been attributed to a high susceptibility to pathogens
Bananas and plantains (Musa spp.) are the most impor- (Persley and de Langhe 1987), weeds (Ndubizu 1983),
tant tropical fruit crops (Ortiz et al. 1998) and rank the drought and organic matter status of the soil (Awodoyin
fourth most important global food commodity after rice, 2003), poor suckering ability (Ndubizu 1985), pest and
wheat and maize in terms of gross value of production diseases, labour shortage, poor agronomic practices and
(INIBAP 1992; FAO 2001). They are staple foods for post-harvest constraints (Robinson 1996). These factors
rural and urban consumers in the humid tropics and im- combine to shorten the life-span of most plantations
portant source of rural income particularly in some loca- (Swennen et al. 1998).
tions where smallholders produce them in some com- A common limiting factor to large-scale production of
pound or home gardens (Chandler 1995). Progressive bananas and plantain, and/or expansion of existing planta-

Fig. 1 Traditional Musa planting materials. From left to right: Maiden sucker; water sucker, early and late sword suckers; peeper; butt; bits.

Received: 27 August, 2007. Accepted: 2 October, 2007.
Invited Mini-Review

Vegetable and Cereal Science and Biotechnology 1(2). duction of propagating materials can be achieved through Plant growth regulator 6-benzylaminopurine (BAP) has various vegetative multiplication methods. free planting materials (Swenmen 1990).34 Mean 9. water sucker. in terms of net returns. Baiyeri 1990. 1985.47 10. two decapitation methods involve stimulating lateral bud peeper and bits. leaving a 2 cm-diameter cavity in increasing sucker multiplication at farm levels (Faturoti et the rhizome. the pseudostem is cut down at the new suckers follows a hierarchical pattern and natural rege. Plantain and Banana Improvement Program (PBIP) of the The pseudostem of each sucker is cut transversally 2 cm International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). 2002). Swennen degree of suitability (Ndubizu and Obiefuna 1982. Schill et al. also makes it possible to obtain in 8 months. When these G2Ss have differentiated and reached a height propagation in Musa species with farmer-friendly clues on of 20 to 30 cm. including micro. Plantain propagules Planting depth Peeper Early sword sucker Late sword sucker Bit Maiden Mean (cm) 10 8. Baiyeri and Ajayi 2000. 2002. ‘Agbagba’) revealed that early. Schill et al. 2006). and the growing point physically removed. and subsequent field establishment. 2006). so there is a need for cheap cribed by Macias (2001) is as follows: Sword suckers of and simple techniques (Lopez 1994). large pieces of It should be noted that this technique. 156 plantlets could be obtained from one treated sucker. A study (Obiefuna 1983) on plantain cm) is made on the pseudostem slightly above the soil (Musa AAB cv. The rate of suckering per plant ranges from 9-14 quate to meet the needs of medium to large-scale produc. and disease.50 11.30 11. the G3Ss are treated in the same way as the preceding generations to obtain fourth- MACROPROPAGATION TECHNIQUES generation suckers (G4Ss) which are excised and raised in nursery bags for subsequent field planting. 1984). Intensive nursery management of cm above ground level. photosynthetically active for approximately three months. Field decapitation techniques nas du Montcel 1985.33 10. natural regenera. The technique dominance to stimulate lateral bud development and in. It has been. number of plantable suckers produced. summarizes methods of macro. however. tached corm techniques. Consequently. could still bear its bunch normally. skill and care to handle suckers are selected on each stool (mat) for mass propaga- (Vuylsteke and Talengera 1998). Faturoti et al.80 10.10 10. 1997. suckers (G3Ss). Four ml tained through detached corm propagation have lower sur. Rapid pro. In his study with FHIA- Micropropagation (i. suckers (G2Ss) appear after 3 months on each treated sucker. Sixty-days later. Swennen et al.20 8. tion at the recommended population of 1600-2500 plants In false decapitation. observed that plantlets ob. These are methods that use whole suckers. cost-benefit ratio. Excised bud technique (EBT) Following the evident disruption of the mother-plants using 111 . and Ndubizu 1994.77 9.34 LSD at 5% for propagule means = 1. 1983. In In most plantain and banana cultivars. meristem/tissue culture) assures 20 banana (AAA) hybrid. 780 plantlets (which are very similar to in vitro plant- method of generating planting materials is not an option for lets) could be obtained per stool in 8 months.70 9. Macias reported that a total of more rapid production of healthy. The materials (maiden sucker. quality and banana-corm weevils (Cosmopolites sordidus). There are several types of propagating thods vis-à-vis false decapitation and total decapitation.03 9. Tenkouano et al.e.10 9. tissue culture as a tion.87 9. The so-called second-generation macro-propagated plantlets becomes imperative. 1 for illustration) used for the production by destroying the active growing point (apical establishment of plantain plantations. 110-115 ©2007 Global Science Books Table 1 Mean bunch weight (kg/plant) of the parent crop derived from five different types of plantain propagules. same routine described above to obtain the third-generation vival in the nursery. but requires a from the first to the third generation. Fruit.50 10. sword suckers often flower earlier and yield better than the while the plant is left standing with foliage that remains rest of the propagules (Table 1). vigorous. sword suckers. wise incisions. due to poor suckering ability Field decapitation technique generally involves two me- (Robinson 1996). therefore. when carefully the parent corms. Thus. 2007). they are dissected and treated following the the nursery management of excised plantlets for better sur.00 11. applied on the mother-plant (without damaging the root sys- ting materials (Faturoti et al. This paper. suckers per annum. of BAP at 40 mg/l distilled water is deposited in the cavity vival rate during the acclimatization and stabilization stages left by the removal of the apical meristem.17 Source: Obiefuna (1983) LSD at 5% for depth of planting means = 1.40 8. Awodoyin 1997. when five more sophisticated technique. above the collar of the rhizome and the apical meristem re- ria. The pseudostem fragment is then cut with cross- al. 1994) and may be inade. 2000). Repression of apical tems).60 30 11.90 9. Besides. butt.and late. propagules that crease suckering rate can be achieved through complete or are practically free of pests and diseases when healthy partial decapitation on a field of growing plants or by de. see Fig. Tripathi et al. small-scale farmers who are the major stakeholders in Musa The procedure for this in-situ mass propagation as des- production in the humid tropics. but they vary in their meristem) in the pseudostem (Wilson et al. Therefore. advanced the use of macro-propagation methods for moved at a depth of 4 cm. Baiyeri et al. five months after transplanting (MAT). soil (corm) level and the apical growing point destroyed by neration is somewhat slow due to strong hormone-mediated screwing with a metal blade. boring down to the rhizome collar.64 22 7.03 10.10 10. 2002). performs superior to tion often produces materials that are usually contaminated complete decapitation and natural suckering (Awodoyin by various soil-borne pathogens such as nematodes and 1997). The rhizomes are in the nursery compared to plantlets from tissue culture then covered with well-composted organic substrate up to 5 (Tenkouano et al. the emergence of complete decapitation.80 9. been proved to enhance lateral bud production in field deca- propagation (Vuylsteke 1998. pitation technique (Macias 2001). plants are selected for field multiplication. a window or small hole (5 cm × 10 ha-1 (Awodoyin 2003).00 tions is the difficulty in obtaining planting materials (Teze. or sword-sucker-corms to produce plan. the height 20-30 cm from a preflowering mother-plant are used. (corm) level. Nige. A study with plantain (Musa apical dominance exerted by the main plant (de Langhe et AAB) revealed that false decapitation when carried-out at al.

Hirimbu- further increase plantlet production by a factor of 2-10 regama and Gamage (1997) reported that in an in-vitro stu- (Tenkouano et al. bud forms multiple shoots.7 39. Cross. During planting.6 m.3 65. wherein the corms are planted completely-buried ages and stages of development (Kwa 2003). Moreover. 2006).0 PITA 25 (AAAB) 52. ences re-establishment and the future productivity of the wise incision (left). with a hinge door (0.5 m the canopy of banana crop or in a half-shade environment framework mounted on a block-wall base of height 0. EBT ment. space and water (Baiyeri 2003). Table 2 The main effect of genotype on number of days to plantlet emergence and total of plantable explants produced per corm.6 83.9 69. 2 Macropropagation via excised bud technique.05) 7. corm technique is relatively simple and requires minimum composted organic nursery substrate. as the quality of nursery seedlings influ- Fig.9 62. Tenkouano et al. 3. The sides and roof are made of thick transparent polyethylene mate- Detached corm multiplication techniques rial to allow for light penetration.1 4. to avoid pest dissemination.8 3. Alternatively. which essentially host meristems of different sawdust.2 66.6 12. saves seeds.3 41. the dug-out corm is sequent field planting. 2002.8 55. an alternative method.5 FHIA 17 (AAAA) 31.3 45. Keeping the seedlings to grow in the nursery until they are larger. screwing (right). 3 Two methods of physically damaging apical dominance.8 NS Adapted from Baiyeri and Aba (2005). Baiyeri and Aba Fig.7 73.6 53. to a depth of 3-5 cm. sprinkling only twice a week. plantlets obtained thereof. the apical meristems of the have the uniformity of tissue-cultured ones. However. In split-corm technique. Tenkouano et al. and reduces the risk of damage to.5 m × 1 m) for accessibility. 2). Watering in the chamber is done by sucker-corms. Days to specific emergence Genotype 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Plantable explants/corm PITA 22 (AAAB) 33.4 3. or well-composted organic substrate. Sword.6 84. 2006) or revealed that there were significant variations in genetic res- by mechanical removal by screwing with sharp knife (Bai. or loss of the plant. From left to right: Excised buds.1 9.0 151. in humidity cham- height of 3-5 cm are carefully excised (separated from the ber conditions resulting in the high production of planting mother-corms) and raised in nursery bags in fertile topsoil material (Kwa 2003.6 2. then washed and split into two or several fragments and Aba 2005) to the recommended sawdust. as well as corms from preflowering and har. 2006).4 85.8 26.0 62.8 55. hot-water treat- NURSERY MANAGEMENT OF MACROPROPAGATED Musa PLANTLETS The nursery phase is an important part of the planting ope- ration in the cultivation of many tropical fruit trees.1 74.2 18. It also allows the grower to select the most vigo- rous seedlings for transplanting into the permanent field (Aiyelaagbe 1989). 112 . corms in rich composted organic substrate (Faturoti et al. makes it possible to give maxi- mum care to weak seedlings. ‘JIK’ (3. the plantlets are ready for nursery planting Corm techniques can either be in form of whole-corm or and are carefully excised and raised in the nursery for sub- split-corm. These methods are illustrated in Fig. the 0.4 3.5 Nsukka Local (AAA) 45. 2006). field decapitation techniques. pared corms are scarified. orchard (Baiyeri and Ndubizu 1994). In whole-corm technique. Upper bud development is stimulated in the field of healthy. Lateral bud growth is activated by planting the vigorous plants by exposure and earthing up of the corms. 1999). tougher and more vigorous. investment to set up. and it appeared that genome B had the lowest pared corms are sterilized in 10% solution of household multiplication rate compared to the AAA group. Tenkouano et al.i.6 A well-developed banana or plantain corm contains several m block plat-form is nearly filled with well-composted axillary buds. until they are ready for field planting (see Fig. NaOCl) and ance in results of the two studies might be due to inherent allowed to air-dry and cured for three days before planting genotype by environment interaction. moisture conservation and heat build-up within the chamber. ponse of Musa species to sucker plantlets initiation (Table yeri and Aba 2005). A well-composted ricehull could also cleaned of roots and outer leaf sheaths to expose the lateral be used as an alternative plantlet initiation medium (Baiyeri buds. sodium hypochlorite. separated shoots grown into independent suckers. it is recommended (Baiyeri and Aba 2005) that the cultivars. This detached- (bits). 2).9 Agbagba (AAB) 36.. Macropropagation of Musa. 1995.0 96.4 118. Peepers (side shoots) which consequently develop to a 2002) in nursery bags or more recently. the study revealed that genotypes with the ‘B’ genome Scarification of side buds on the corm has the potential to had more plantlets than the AAA group. These are planted face down and raised in a well. either by making two cross-wise An ex-vitro multiplication study (Baiyeri and Aba 2005) incisions on the buds (Kwa 2003. In nematode or weevil infested dy the multiplication rate was found to be variable among soils. for 20 minutes at a temperature of 53-55°C practi- was introduced (Lopez 1994) to spare the mother-plants.1 LSD (0. three-leaf stage. multiple shoots separated. The whole structure is best vested plants could be used in detached corm multiplication sited under a half-shade environment (translucent roof). These are kept under The humidity chamber consists of a 2 m × 5 m × 1.5% a. At techniques (Faturoti et al.4 49. cally frees planting material from nematodes (Speijer et al. The vari- bleach.

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS cules to allow for readily availability of nutrients previously tied-up (Bunt 1988). The nutrient value of nursery for the first 2 weeks after transplanting (especially in hot mixtures could be further improved by incorporating inor. Genotypes Ricehull Sawdust Rooted (%) Rootless (%) Rooted (%) Rootless (%) PITA 22 (AAAB) 44. a wide vitro multiplication techniques including on-farm decapita- range of crop residues. Baiyeri (1997) recommended a 100 kg N/ha lity of paw-paw (Carica papaya) in the nursery and hence. A similar result for upgrading plantain peepers to certified planting mate. With time. racteristics (Akanbi et al. Musa plantlets generally require a warm. pref. excessive tropical heat. ers of bananas and plantains in the humid tropics.5:1 v/v/v) aeration.0 Agbagba (AAB) 83.5:1. tached corm propagation are usually without roots (Table 3).5. only light shading is required until about ¾ Plantain fruit pulp + sawdust + poultry manure + top. It is responsible for the absorption of dity of the nursery environment (Hartmann and Kester water and nutrients. 2002).0 85. Thus. and/or leaching losses. involve the stimulation of lateral shoot development on by-products could be used as nursery potting medium. 2000). practices are best done in the dry seasons to get plants ready Nursery substrates must be composted for at least 8 for wet season planting. and nursery men may have the Consequently.5 23. less pre-dispose the seedlings to would help to maintain fairly uniform plantlets. assures better moisture and more.5:1. 2003). nursery (Baiyeri 2005). the sucker corms.5:1. v/v/v/v). More than 30% of the plantlets obtained through de- tions of availability. and mist spraying practiced intermittently as well maintain optimum pH.2 36. An ideal nursery site for Musa plantlets must be free mones and storage (Blomme et al. plantlets stabilize and escape desiccation immediately after The use of organic substrate (compost) offers a great excision from mother-corms.0 32. The root system is the link between intense wind.4 55. K2O (using muri.6 Mean 60. The plantlets should be ex- advantage over the conventional topsoil (Akanbi et al. close to constant and good quality water. unskilled. ganic salts such as rock phosphates. Different polyethylene colours diseases such as root knot nematode and seedling root rots used as shade reflect different spectra of the visible light and (Egunjobi and Ekundare 1981). should be sited under a natural shelter against wind and in- The physical composition has a profound effect on the sup. five days prior to field planting when the young suckers are soil (1. after transplanting. ply of water and air to the growing plants (Beardsell and Management of shade in the nursery can be very critical Nichols 1982). economics. the acclimatization and stabilization stages (Table 4) in the tive propagules in the nursery include choice of nursery site.0 12. Consequently. Macropropagation provides cheap. The soil should also be amended lished data) using different colour shades in a plantlet initia- with P2O5 (using single superphosphate). 1981). Among the so far selected elite mixes. Vegetable and Cereal Science and Biotechnology 1(2). Composting ensures that compounds of high molecular weights are broken down into smaller mole. synthesis of some plant hor- 1975). lime and nitrogenous Watering of the potted plantlets should be done at most fertilizers during composting (Matthew and Karikari 1990).9 44.5:1. causes nitrogen deficiency as microflora deplete avail. simple. the floor of the nursery shade should be lined with nutrient management (by minimizing leaching losses) and moist sawdust. it is root-substrate relation than conventional soil mix. Besides. With over-grown plantlets. Soil has been indicated as the had proved satisfactory for the young delicate Musa plant- easiest way through which seedlings become infected by lets (Baiyeri and Aba 2005). cised at 2-3 leaf stage and planted immediately after exci- 2002. for exam. but most soils when used alone are common nursery shade used in Nigeria (Baiyeri 2006). v/v) perforated underneath to ease drainage and improve root ¾ Sawdust + ricehull + poultry manure (1. It is often common to think of ling growth. tion chamber. and the relative humi.and medium-scale farmers who are the major grow- in any nursery mix. Decomposition of sawdust. and nutrient since lack of shade or excess of it could lead to poor seed- and water-holding capacity.1 39.8 27. adequate better to cut-back to a maximum height of 10 cm. as well. Organic substrates provide better sion from the mother-corm. as well as affects anchorage. Further- soil borne pests and diseases. the plantlets require more light for fur- ¾ Plantain fruit pulp + sawdust + poultry manure (2:2:2. erence of any should largely be determined by considera. unpub- rials in 12 kg of topsoil. 480 and 172 kg/ha respectively.1 PITA 25 (AAAB) 28. ther growth and development. and the successful growing of plants in containers (Bunt 1988). combined with 9-day watering interval as nursery practice better field re-establishment (Baiyeri 2006). weather) to abate desiccation of the young plantlets. be adequately ¾ Ricehull + poultry manure (3:1. physical and chemical cha. Baiyeri 2005) for raising Musa practice to moisten the floor of the nursery shade daily to plantlets to vigorous suckers for field planting (in 8 to 12 maintain fairly high air humidity within the nursery envi- weeks). It is rather a good (Baiyeri and Aba 2005.8 Nsukka Local (AAA) 76. Adams et al.0 71. twice a week to avoid water-logging with the consequent Several organic nursery mixtures had been developed root asphyxiation. raise containerized plants.9 72. 113 . allowed to acclimatize to the ambient environment. transmit some spectra of the visible light with consequent tribute of heavy weight when large volumes are used to effect on physiological behaviour of plants (Hart 1988). the highest percentage emergence and the best seedling qua- However. Fruit. v/v/v). These indispensa- Table 3 Percentage of rooted and rootless plantlets at the time of excision as influenced by initiation media and genotype. at about 6-8 weeks v/v/v). the plant and the soil.4 63. well-composted sawdust is preferred small.3 FHIA 17 (AAAA) 68. organic wastes and other industrial tion. These ex- As media development continues world over.6 55. soils have the at. include: ronment. was observed in Musa plantlets initiation (Baiyeri. and relatively ple. cies that could be amenable to the low-income. and these rootless plantlets have lower survival rate during Other factors that influence the performance of vegeta.2 Adapted from Baiyeri and Aba (2005).6 71.7 14. 110-115 ©2007 Global Science Books The quality of nursery potting medium is important to of flooding. ate of potash) and a systemic insecticide-Furadan 5G at the humid and half-shade/translucent environment to allow the rates of 60. tense tropical heat.0 17. Palm frond is probably the oldest and most soil as a good medium. This nutrients for the seedlings. and very poor growing medium. anchorage.5 88. rapid techniques for vegetative multiplication of Musa spe- able nitrogen in the decomposition process (Wootton et al. green polyethylene nursery shade enhanced problem of bulkiness in transporting them (Bunt 1988). weeks before use. The nursery bags should. Nursery ¾ Topsoil + poultry manure + sawdust (3:2:1.4 28.

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