Cost-effective Nutrient Sources for Tissue Culture of Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz)
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Application of tissue culture technology is constrained by high costs making seedlings unaffordable. The objective of this study was to evaluate the possibility of using locally available fertilizers as alternative nutrient sources for cassava micropropagation. A Low Cost Medium (LCM) whereby the conventional sources of four Murashige and Skoog (MS) macronutrients had been replaced with locally available fertilizers was developed. Stanes Iodized Microfood® from Osho Chemical Industries in Nairobi was used as the alternative source of micronutrients. Modified conventional MS medium was used as the control. Both media were supplemented with 30 g/l of table sugar and 3 g/l of gelrite. Two cassava varieties, Muchericheri and KME 1 were regenerated on the two media. Node, leaf and root formation patterns plus plant height were determined and compared. A reduction of 95.50% in nutrient cost was achieved. The two cassava varieties had a significantly (p < 0.05) higher number of nodes on the conventional medium compared to LCM. There were no differences in node formation by the two varieties on the low cost medium during both initiation and multiplication. KME 1 produced significantly more leaves on the LCM compared to Muchericheri during both initiation and multiplication. Acclimatization of plantlets was successful; hence, this protocol can be adopted in cassava regeneration.