Viability and fertility of cryopreserved pollen of Brinjal and its wild relatives
The Solanum wild relatives are valuable for developing pest and disease-resistant lines in the breeding program of S. melongena (brinjal). However, breeding new varieties that are superior to the existing ones in S. melongena faces several challenges. To overcome geographical and seasonal barriers, a breeding strategy involving pollen cryopreservation may be helpful. Fifteen different Solanum species/accessions of wild relatives and two accessions from cultivated species were studied for in vitro germination and fertility. Among these S. indicum accessions exhibited the highest fresh pollen germination of 92.7±0.7 (JRPH/15–154) and 88.2±3.2% after 1 year and 4 months of cryostorage. In vivo fertility was estimated by quantifying fruit set after pollination with both fresh and cryopreserved pollen. The cryopreserved pollen was able to set fruit (91.5±0.5 in JRPH/15–154) compared to fresh pollen (100%). Scanning Electron Microscopic studies (SEM) were conducted on both fresh and cryopreserved pollen, and various morphological parameters such as pollen length, breadth, and perimeter were recorded for all the accessions and species. These studies explore the possibility of establishing a pollen cryobank for Solanum wild species.