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Large scale micropropagation of tropical tree crops: oil palm as a case study

Rival A., Jaligot E., Beulé T., Richaud F., Duval Y., Aberlenc-Bertossi F., Morcillo F., Tregear J.. 2003. In : Espinel Santiago (ed.), Barredo Yolanda (ed.), Ritter Enrique (ed.). Sustainable forestry, wood products and biotechnology, International Congress Biofor' 02, Victoria-Gasteiz, November, 11 to 14, 2002. Vitoria-Gasteiz : DFA Press, p. 455-471. International Scientific Congress Biofor'02 - Sustainable Forestry, Wood products and Biotechnology. 4, 2002-11-11/2002-11-14, Vitoria-Gasteiz (Espagne).

In plant biotechnology, the pilot scale step plays a key role in the scaling-up strategy and it stimulates important research programmes, involving novel approaches. Cloning of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq) is performed by somatic embryogenesis on calli of leaf origin. The transfer of technology from the research laboratory to the pilot production unit was initiated in 1982, and 5 pilot units have been opened. Because of very high production costs, the selling price of clonal plantlets could not be lowered to less than 7 times the price of selected seeds (3 to 5 US$). Furthermore, evaluation in the field has revealed the occurrence of a small percentage (ca 5%) of variant palms which show an abnormal flower development. New methods of automation and scale-up such as embryogenic suspensions are currently developed. Integrated molecular approaches are under way for the study of somaclonal variation. Methylation of genomic DNA is intensively studied, at both genome-wide and sequence-specific levels. Following the example of oil palm micropropagation, a non-linear model is proposed for the transfer of innovation from the original idea to the final adoption by the end-user.

Mots-clés : elaeis guineensis; micropropagation; transfert de technologie; embryogénèse somatique; clone; projet de recherche; protéine de réserve; variation somaclonale; côte d'ivoire

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