Transnational Accesses

TA feedback - METLA

Read more in an interview with Metla transnational access visitors: Research without borders

Project Title: Vitrification and clonal fidelity of Holm oak somatic embryos

Applicant: IMIDRA, Spain

Visit date: 19 February - 11 June 2013

Feedback: Applied for access to two facilities (METLA Cryopreservation laboratory and METLA Vegetative propagation laboratory) located in the same place.

Both facilities at the METLA Punkaharju Unit are well equipped, and the staff is highly qualified, efficient and very supportive. They taught me new skills that can be applied in my own research. If I had to repeat the experience, I would apply for the same facility over and over again: the experience was wonderful!

Given the cutting-edge results of the experiments performed in Finland, we are currently writing two manuscripts that include these results, to high impact factor publications in our field.

Project Title: Vegetative propagation of CLRV-infected birch species of Germany and Finland (VPCLRV)

Applicant: Humboldt-University of Berlin / Division Phytomedizin, Germany

Visit date: 3 - 21 March 2014

Feedback: The aim of the TA visit was to initiate tissue cultures of selected Cherry leaf roll virus (CLRV)-infected Betula pubescens and B. pendula from Rovaniemi, Northern Finland. Established tissue cultures provide clonal and juvenile plant material for our studies related to the molecular and epidemiolical characterization of CLRV.

Within the 3 weeks of my TA visit in Metla, Punkaharju, I prepared in total 320 dormant buds (40 buds per each of 8 tree genotypes). The peeled buds were set on a special nutrition medium to initiate regrowth of the buds. This was successful in that the primordial leaves emerged and a stem base callus started to develop. Depending on the genotypes, 22.5-60 % of the initiated cultures had to be discarded after 17 days due to microbial contamination. This is a quite normal rate, as the surface sterilization of natural buds with 70 % ethanol is usually not 100 %.

At the end of the visit I transferred the bud cultures from glass tubes to glass jars in a set of 3-5 explants, and transported to our laboratory in Berlin in a styropor box. A smaller proportion of the cultures are left at TA site, to proceed with the tissue culture synchronically by communication via email. Next steps are the multiplication of shoots from the individual calli on nutrition media with altered composition of groth regulators and subsequent rooting of single cut shoots on a medium without growth regulators. Rooted plantlets will be potted in substrate, acclimatised in a growth chamber and subsequently transferred to the greenhouse. Plantlets will then be screened for CLRV infection by RT-PCR.

This is an uncomplicated, easy access to a skilful laboratory to learn specific scientific techniques and methods. In my case it was a great opportunity not only to get introduced into the tissue culture technique, but also to produce tissue cultures from very important birch material of our current studies.