NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR THE Ex Situ CONSERVATION OF Agave PLANTS IN MEXICO Hector G. Nuñez-Palenius1, Rafael Ramírez-Malagón1, Juan F. Gómez Leyva2, Eduardo SalazarSolís1 and Luis Pérez-Moreno1 1 Life Sciences Division, Campus Irapuato-Salamanca, University of Guanajuato Ex-Hacienda El Copal. Km. 9 Carr. Irapuato-Silao, Z.C. 36824, Irapuato, Gto. MéxicoPhon. and Fax +52 (462) 624-1889 Ext. 1526. [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected] 2 Mollecular Biology Lab. Technologic Institute of Tlajomulco de Zúñiga, Jal. Km. 10 Road TlajomulcoSan Miguel Cuyutlán, Tlajomulco de Zúñiga, Jal. P.O. Box 12. Z.C. 45640. Ph. (33)3772-4426 [email protected] Keywords: plant tissue culture; in vitro micropropagation; national collection. Introduction. The Agavaceae Family is native to America and it is distributed across the whole continent (Gentry, 1982, Valenzuela, 1997). In the last decades, some wild agaves have been over-collected and exploited, causing to become extinction endangered. For that reason, it is of vital importance the ex situ conservation of Agave genus to avoid total and definitive loss. The objective of this study was to establish the creation of two national collections: the in vitro culture and the in field preservation in an Agavetum. Methods. To maintain the Agave accessions in the in vitro collection, the MS medium was used (Murashige and Skoog, 1962) with different hormonal balances, depending on each species. The containers were kept under a light period of 18 light hours (25-30 µmol m-2 s-1), and a monthly sub-cultivation. In the Agavetum field, several mechanical and manual weeding activities, plowing, elimination of old leaves by manual pruning, thinning propagates, etc., are carried out in order to properly conserve all the Agave accessions of different species and localities. Results and discussion. Up to day, more than 500 Agave accessions, belonging to several species, are maintained in the 10 ha Agavetum field (Figure 1). We kept at least 10 plants from each accession, and all plants are growing well and healthy, and there are more than 6,000 Agave plants. In the in vitro collection, 58 accessions, from 28 different Agave species are kept under controlled conditions, and having at least 50 plants from each accession (Figure 2). Fig. 2. View of the in vitro Agave collection, where more than 2,000 Agave plants are kept. Conclusions. 1) The successful field-conservation of 529 Agave accessions from different states across Mexico, and the in vitro conservation of 58 accessions have been achieved. 2) Twelve years of efforts conserving genetic resources have shown positive results. Acknowledgements. We are infinitely grateful for the great support from SAGARPA, through the SINAREFI and SNICS. References. 1. Gentry H. S. (1982). Agaves of Continental North America, The University of Arizona Press, Tucson, Az. pp. 668. 2. Valenzuela, Z.A. (1997). El agave tequilero: su cultivo e industria. 2da Edición, Monsanto. Litteris editores, México. Fig. 1. View of the Agavetum, where more than 6,000 Agave plants are kept. 3. Murashige, T. and Skoog, F. (1962). A revised medium for rapid growth and bio-assays with tobacco tissue cultures. Physiol Plant 15(3): 473-497.
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