ISSN: 0041-3216 (Online), 0041-3216 (Print)
Volume 59 Number 4
Conservation of cacao seed
The tolerance of cacao seeds to desiccation was tested and the response to low temperatures was examined. Seeds survived several months stored in the pod at 15°C but showed reduced vigour. After removal from the pod desiccation below 20% moisture (fresh weight basis) killed seeds, as did low temperature, 4°C. Seeds with and without testas were stored fully imbibed in a range of chemicals and in extracts from pods and testas of seed at different stages of development. Germination was inhibited by many of the substances tested but after prolonged storage normal growth could only be obtained from seeds stored in Polyethylene glycol. Seeds were successfully stored in polyethylene glycol for 25 weeks. The growth of the embryonic axes of cacao seeds was explored on different media and under a range of environmental conditions. At 25°C with a 12 h photoperiod small seedlings developed which then remained dormant for at least 18 months. The possibilities of exploiting arrested growth in culture for the storage of genetic resources is discussed.
Keywords: Theobroma cacaco L.; Conservation; Seeds; Desiccation