IN VITRO MORPHOGENIC PERFORMANCE OF GINGER (Zingiber officinale) AS INFLUENCED BY MEDIA VARIATIONS
Ginger (Zingiber officinale Rose) is a perennial herb that grows from underground rhizomes. The demand for fresh and dry ginger and its essential oil in the world market is high. Ginger is propagated vegetatively using underground rhizomes. Most farmers use planting materials saved from previous harvest. These materials could have been sold for cash. Contingent on this, many farmers are reluctant to use healthy succulent rhizomes for planting. These are rather sold thereby resulting in acute shortage of planting materials. Tissue culture technique can be applied to mass-produce seedlings for distribution to ginger farmers. This however, is not cost effective now due to lack of the necessary materials such as agar required for tissue culture. It is on the basis of these considerations that the present research was set up to develop a locally available and cheap protocol that is reproducible in ginger plant tissue culture work with the following objectives: To determine the best pre-initiation treatment for in-vitro ginger multiplication; To determine the effect of plant growth hormones – auxin and cytokinin on in-vitro propagation of ginger at the initiation stage using agar as a gelling agent; To compare agar gelled medium with cassava gelled medium in in-vitro propagation of ginger at the initiation stage. The research was carried out in the tissue culture research laboratory of the National Root Crop Research Institute (NRCRI), Umudike Station, Umuahia, Abia State. The explants were collected from ginger germplasm of the Institute. The result shows that Sodium Hypochlorite (NaOCl) as 30% bleach and agitating for 20 minutes effectively controlled the rate of contamination; however, at longer duration of agitation (30 minutes) the explants were badly damaged. At 4 weeks after initiation, 0.7mg/l NAA in combination with 0.25mg/l BAP gave the highest mean of 3.0 buds per plant (P<0.05). Explants cultured in cassava gelled medium at four weeks after initiation produced more buds than those cultured in agar gelled medium (P>0.05).