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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 650: I International Symposium on Saffron Biology and Biotechnology

CULTIVATION TECHNIQUES, MORPHOLOGY AND ENZYMATIC PROPERTIES OF CROCUS SATIVUS L.

Authors:   E. Keyhani, J. Keyhani, M. Hadizadeh, L. Ghamsari, F. Attar
Keywords:   corms, cultivation media, enzymes, salinity, roots
Abstract:
Traditional cultivation techniques and empirical knowledge about best soil composition and most suitable corms have been transmitted from generation to generation of Crocus sativus L. (saffron) farmers. The range of soil conditions is vast, with great possible variations in acidity, water availability, air supply, salts concentration and organic compounds. Thus delineating accurately the nutritional requirements of the saffron plant is difficult to achieve in field studies. In order to conduct controlled studies of the plant development, we have been cultivating corms in the laboratory either 1) in pots, using field cultivation soil, or 2) in semi-liquid agar medium, or 3) in liquid medium. We selected cultivation either in potted soil or, mostly, in liquid medium that appeared to be the most convenient and controllable technique. Using it, we have studied the effect of a wide range of experimental conditions such as changes in the medium nutritional content, salinity and oxidative stress, etc. Roots and shoots growth was used as criteria to determine gross alterations in plant morphology. Concomitantly, we studied the enzymatic properties of the saffron plant, with emphasis on the saffron corm. Saffron is a triploid plant, thus its beautiful purple-violet flowers cannot produce any seed. The plant propagation is possible only via corms. Any improvement in crops quality and quantity must emerge from the corm quality. Even though resistance to certain undesirable environmental stress can be achieved by gene transfer, understanding the role of nutritional factors as well as studying their effect on the metabolic and enzymatic properties of the corm might lead to desired flowering quality as well as quantity in this post-genomic era. Moreover, perfection in the liquid cultivation medium and development to large-scale liquid system may provide for a method additional to farm culturing.
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