A modified encapsulation–dehydration cryopreservation protocol based on the replacement of cold acclimation with high-sucrose pretreatment was assessed for the long-term storage of Ribes germplasm. Four steps in the procedure were examined for eight genotypes: (1) pregrowth of shoot tips in sucrose-supplemented solid growth medium for 1 wk; (2) pretreatment of alginate-encapsulated shoot tips in sucrose-supplemented liquid culture medium for 21 h; (3) evaporative desiccation of encapsulated–dehydrated shoot tips; and (4) exposure to liquid nitrogen (LN). Differential responses were observed for black currant and gooseberry genotypes. Recovery of growing shoots was high (72–100%) at all four steps for the five black currants tested. Evaporative desiccation slightly decreased viability for some black currants and in some cases LN exposure reduced regrowth. In contrast, three gooseberry species had poor recovery from the initial sucrose culture step (32–67%), indicating sensitivity to osmotic stress, which predisposed these genotypes to poor survival after LN exposure (12–26%). The effectiveness of the modified protocol for conserving a wider range of Ribes genotypes was further ascertained by screening 22 genotypes derived from nine Ribes species. The procedure was successful for 18 of the 22 genotypes in the gene bank in Scotland. Screening genotype responses at the time of storage demonstrated regrowth ≥60% for 15 genotypes, and only four genotypes had regrowth of 0–28%. Additional genotypes were also added to the USDA cryopreserved Ribes collection.
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Vol. 41 • No. 4