Pollen Fertility in Musa: Viability in cultivars grown in Southern Australia

Jeanie Fortescue, David Turner

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Pollen viability was examined by recording the number of viable as well as non-viable microspores in anthers just before anthesis, as it could be an efficient and rapid indicator of female fertility. It was thought that competency in meiotic restitution in microspores could indicate similar competency in megaspores. Pollen fertility was compared among seeded diploids and edible triploids of Musa and correlated with ovule fertility. Viability was examined using the Alexander's pollen stain procedure. The seeded diploid species M. acuminata, M. balbisiana, and M. ornata had 3 times more viable pollen than the edible tetraploids (AAAB). M. balbisiana and M. ornata had significantly more viable pollen than M. acuminata. The tetraploids contained 3 times more viable pollen than the edible triploids AAA and ABB and 4 times more than the AAB cultivars. The genome A or B did not affect pollen viability within the triploid cultivars examined. The AAA triploid Gros Michel had the highest percentage of viable pollen at 13% and Green/Red the lowest at 3%.Pollen viability was influenced by meiotic disturbances and an association was made between viability of pollen and viability of embryo sacs. Pollen viability from anthers of Australian grown species and cultivars of Musa a. ssp. (undescribed subspecies) was compared with published reports of pollen viability from Indian grown species and cultivars. The pollen viability between the Indian cultivated and wild diploids of Musa a. ssp. was similar at 50-66%, but less than the pollen viability of Australian diploid Musa a. ssp of 84%. The Indian-grown triploid cultivars had 21-29% viable pollen and the tetraploids had 28% viable pollen, whereas the Australian grown triploids had 6-10% viable pollen and the tetraploids 29% viable pollen.There was a difference in pollen viability between genome groups and within genome groups. Different species and cultivars of Musa possess different levels of competency in the production of microspores, which correlated positively with levels of megaspore fertility in the same species and cultivars.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1085-1091
Journal Australian Journal of Agricultural Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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