Photoautotrophic micropropagation is the propagation of plantlets using relatively small chlorophyllous explants in a sugar-free nutrient medium under pathogen-free conditions where the plantlets can photosynthesize and produce their own carbohydrate for growth. Kozai et al. (1988) have successfully developed a system for photoautotrophic micropropagation by increasing CO2 concentration and PPF (photosynthetic photon flux) in the culture vessel.

The major benefits of photoautotrophic micropropagation of somatic embryos are:

i) Photoautotrophic growth can improve the quality of somatic embryos. It can reduce the hyperhydricity and the development of abnormal embryos. It can possibly shorten and simplify the germination and plantlet development procedure. Photoautotrophic culture can improve the embryo-to-plantlet conversion percentage and acclimatization ex vitro (Afreen et al., 2002a and b; Figure 16).

ii) Relatively uniform growth in size and shape and uniform development are expected.

Conventional system

Development of somatic embryos

Newly developed photoautotrophic system

Selection of normal / healthy embryos

Selection of normal / healthy embryos

Transfer to TRI-bioreactor for photoautotrophic growth

Transfer to germination medium

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