In vitro collecting is the process of initiating tissue cultures in the field. In order for in vitro collecting to be broadly available as a technique for collecting plant germplasm, the levels of contamination in such cultures must be controlled. Two techniques for in vitro collecting were compared: leaf punch and needle collecting. The effectiveness of these methods for collecting leaf and stem tissues from plants at tropical and temperate sites was compared. Stem tissue collected by the needle collecting method gave cultures with an average contamination percentage of 31% and 16%, from the tropical and temperate sites, respectively, while with the leaf punch method, average contamination percentages were 90% and 69%. The effectiveness of antimicrobial agents in reducing contamination in leaf punch cultures was evaluated. Addition of the fungicide benlate and the antibiotics, cefotaxime and vancomycin, to the leaf punch collections reduced contamination to an average of 30% in the tropical collections and 35% in the temperate collections. Over 90% of both tropical and temperate species collected in multiple samples of 10 or more had at least one clean sample using this medium. The use of either the leaf punch method in combination with a fungicide and antibiotics or the needle collecting technique yielded a high percentage of clean tissues for study and growth.
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