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Pollen germination medium

David W. Kramer kramer.8 at OSU.EDU
Tue Feb 17 11:56:28 EST 1998

>Does anybody in the group have a protocol for pollen germination in vitro
>or a reference?
>Thanks for the information
>Magaly Rincon-Zachary
>Dept. of Biology
>Midwestern State University

This was a plant-ed topic in Autumn 1996.  Here are at least some of the

I've used the recipe in Brewbaker and Kwack in my undergraduate course to
germinate freshly collected pollen.

Brewbaker, JL and Kwack, BH.  1963.  The essential role of calcium ions
in pollen germination and pollen tube growth.  Amer. J. Bot. 50: 859-865.

Hope this helps.

Page Owen
Connecticut College
Dept. of Botany
tpowe at conncoll.edu


I suggest you start at the SAPS web site at http://nasc.nott.ac.uk:8100

This gives a simple and reliable hanging drop technique using old film can lids.
The technique was developed for use with rapid brassica pollen but it works
equally well with other species. Many Hyacinthus spp and relatives seem to
grow exceptionally fast - try Puschkinia. Lillies and Tradescantia also
grow well.

Now, Do pollen tubes show directional growth with respect to the presence
of stigmatic tissue? Does the pollen of self sterile flowers germinate in
the presence of 'self' stigmas? There is a suggestion that Ca+ ions are
involved - is this verifiable?  Is there a diurnal rhythm in pollen growth?
etc etc

Answers please!! (and any more questions gratefully received) There are a
lot of potential undergrad projects here.

Dr.Barry Meatyard                       Tel: 01203 524228
Science and Plants for Schools          Fax: 01203 523237
Institute of Education                  Email: barry.meatyard at warwick.ac.uk
University of Warwick


This is not very scientific, but it works for a simple demo in our
fresh/soph biology class. We use 20% sucrose sol'n on a slide, add
assorted pollen grains from the landscaping outside. Some actually
germinate! This proves to the students that pollen tubes really do
exist! Takes an hour or two to get results.Hope this helps somewhat.
-Nancy Harrison


Try the following:

a solution of 12.5% sucrose,0.01% boric acid,0.02% calcium chloride.
Autoclave, put 0.5 ml in depression well, put in ripe, dehiscing anther.
Works well - pollen tubes should grow out in 3-4 hours.
Good luck.
Tom Lee


Hewitt et al. 1985 Effect of brassinolide and other growth regulators on the
germination and growth of pollen tubes of Prunus avium using a multiple
hanging drop assay. Aust. J. Plant Physiol. 12, 201 -11. Jenny Sasse


For several recipes, try

Kearns, C.A. and D.W. Inouye. 1993. Techniques for Pollen Biologists.
University Press of Colorado, Niwot, CO. (pp. 101-106)

David J. Hicks djhicks at manchester.edu
Biology Department (219) 982-5309
Manchester College
N. Manchester, IN 46962


Other references to this topic can be dug out of the archives for plant-ed at


Dr. David W. Kramer
Department of Plant Biology
Ohio State University at Mansfield
1680 University Drive
Mansfield, OH  44906-1547
(419) 755-4344  FAX:  (419) 755-4367
e-mail:  kramer.8 at osu.edu

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