Theo Sanders, Germany

Looking at Pollen

December 8, 2012
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Categories: Fertility, Hybridizing, Pollination, Science

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Harold,

The two bigger pollen grains of your photo could be viable and perhaps unreduced or unreduced and doubled.

The method of causing the pollen to sprout, and examining it under a microscope has been described by Lawrence Trevanion in “A Look at Pollen,”  The Daffodil Journal, Vol. 37, No.2, December 2000, pages 90-102. He proposed a sugar solution as a medium for sprouting the pollen. In most cases this works well, but some pollen show no signs of life. I found out that these pollen may grow, if you  enrich the sugar solution with an addition of the Murashige and Skoog   Basal Salt Mixture, which is used for tissue culture and which you can get for example from ‘Sigma-Aldrich Fine Chemicals’. I dissolve 1.4 g of sugar and 20 mg of Murashige and Skoog medium in 20 ml of deionized water. These exact amounts are not really necessary. You can take an eggcup, fill it with deionized water and give to this a quarter of a teaspoon of sugar and a knifepoint of Murashige and Scoog medium. A drop of the solution is given on a glass slide, and pollen is moved on the point of a match from the anthers to the drop. The slide is kept at room temperature in a closed plastic box with water on the ground, to reduce evaporation from the drop. Two hours later you can see the sprouts with a microscope, if the pollen is fertile.

Theo

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