Philippines: Spore Bank established for conservation and propagation of ferns

Endangered and economically important ferns are being conserved and propagated through a project titled, “Spore Bank Establishment, Propagation and Conservation of Economically Important Ferns.”

The project aims to address the decline in fern populations by maintaining spore availability and viability throughout the year. It was achieved through the establishment of a spore bank for long-term conservation; development of propagation protocols for spore germination as well as gametophyte and sporophyte development; and propagation of endangered and economically important ferns through in vitro culture.

Some of the species of spores stored in the Spore Bank in Central Mindanao University (CMU) (Image credit: Central Mindanao University)

Results showed that large scale propagation is feasible through spores. Collection of spores through the Spore Bank is necessary to make it available anytime since ferns do not produce spores all year round.

Spores are collected from threatened and economically important fern species. It undergoes drying before being transferred into microtubes for dry storage. These microtubes are stored at low temperatures for long-term germplasm preservation.

Located at the Spore and Tissue Culture Laboratory of the Natural Science Research Center (NSRC) in Central Mindanao University (CMU), Bukidnon, the Spore Bank is the first and only spore bank in the Philippines. It stores 770 spore collections from 120 species of endangered, endemic, medicinal, and ornamental ferns.

Developed protocols on the propagation of epiphytic, hemi-epiphytic, and terrestrial species of endangered and economically important ferns are now being used by the stakeholders.

It provides additional income to farmers and indigenous peoples as they participate in propagating and reintroducing endangered and economically important ferns to their natural habitats.

Funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD), the said project is one of the three finalists in the National Symposium of Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources (NSAARRD) research category. It was authored by Dr. Victor B. Amoroso, Dr. Fulgent P. Coritico, Mr. Chis Rey Lituañas, and Ms. Aurfeli D. Nietes.

NSAARRD is spearheaded by DOST-PCAARRD and held as one of the highlight activities during DOST-PCAARRD anniversary celebrations.

DOST-PCAARRD will celebrate its eighth anniversary on June 19, 2019 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Pasay City, where it will recognize the outstanding efforts of its partners through NSAARRD.

Source: DOST-PCAARRD (Gian Carlo D. Camacho)

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