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Pollen germination medium

Barry Meatyard Barry.Meatyard at WARWICK.AC.UK
Wed Feb 18 04:32:31 EST 1998

Dear Plant Edders

Below is the text of David Kramer's full and excellent response to the
pollen grain query.

This is to draw your attention to the fact that the SAPS website is now


I grew rapid Brassica pollen with a group of secondary school teachers 2
weeks ago and got 100% success rate (each teacher was successful that is,
not pollen grains!)


>>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
>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
>CV4 7AL
>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

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

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