Xianxin Meng, Yanyun Wang, A.G. Watson*
Black pepper, Piper nigrum L, is grown in the wet tropics, almost exclusively by smallholder farmers. They generally establish new plantations using rooted stem cuttings from their own vines, which can carry diseases, and which have no identity preservation. Current black pepper production is unsustainable because of unsafe, increasingly expensive hand harvesting and prevalent use of non-compliant pesticides. Black pepper marketing companies are establishing large-scale plantations to assure sustainable compliant supplies, creating a need for true-to-type, disease-free planting material, which is presently unavailable. The objective of the study was to develop and demonstrate technology for in vitro multiplication of black pepper on a commercial scale and establishment of large-scale plantations of disease-free plants of desirable varieties. Production of large numbers of black pepper rooted plantlets in vitro was accomplished and these were airfreighted, hardened, and planted in a field plantation with a high survival rate. In vitro derived plants grew normally, albeit more slowly, than plants derived from rooted cuttings. Cost of in vitro derived plants was competitive with rooted stem cuttings.
Published Date: 2021-03-29; Received Date: 2021-03-08