Date of Award

2006

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Environmental Science

First Advisor

Abdelouahhab Zaid

Second Advisor

Hughes

Third Advisor

James E. Fletcher

Abstract

Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) cultivation in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is considered one of the most important economic supports for the agricultural sector. Propagation of date palm by offshoots cannot satisfy the increasing demand of date palm trees, and high propagation rate can only be achieved using tissue culture techniques. However, one of the major problems of this technique is the failure of producing aseptic cultures, yielding to the loss of the explants at the initiation phase.

The objectives of this study were to develop a reliable disinfection technique of date palm explants at the initiation stage yielding a contamination rate less than 5 %, to identify tissue culture contaminants and propose respective control means.

To avoid contamination problems that are frequently experienced in the initiation stage, explants are to be handled and raised under specific aseptic conditions. Various concentrations of Sodium Hypochloride (NaOCl), Potassium permanganate (KMnO4) and Aliette (fungicide) were tested during different periods of time. The recommended double disinfection technique is 40 % of NaOCI combined with 3 g/l of Aliette, and 30 % of NaOCI combined with 400 mg/l KMnO4-. The most frequent bacterial strains identified were Cellulomonas cellulans, Enterobacter aerogenes, Bacillus fusiformis, Serratia marcescens, Kocuria rosea and Cellulomonas uda.

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