Pyrethrum is a perennial herbaceous plant endemic to the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea, and introduced in large areas of nearly all continents, where it is cultivated for the industrial extraction of pyrethrins. Pyrethrins are a group of six closely related monoterpene esters, widely used as natural insecticides. The world production of natural pyrethrins is lower than the market demand, and a wider introduction of this crop within the Mediterranean agrosystems could be an appealing opportunity for farmers and manufacturers.

The availability of adequate amounts of selected plant material to bring into cultivation is, however, one of the major issues. Therefore, the in vitro propagation of elite pyrethrum genotypes could be a suitable alternative to conventional propagation methods. In this paper, we present the results of a 9-year field comparison between pyrethrum plants coming from an in vitro propagation protocol and plants obtained by cutting from the same mother plants.

Furthermore, since plantlets derived from in vitro regeneration may experience ploidy changes, we evaluated the stability of the ploidy level of pyrethrum-micropropagated plants by flow cytometry (FCM) analysis. FCM screening revealed no differences among the morphotypes and between them and the mother plant. Likewise, the field evaluation of plants gave no significant differences between flower yields in both groups. Hence, micropropagation was confirmed as an easy, efficient and reproducible method to obtain large quantities of selected pyrethrum genotypes.

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Catalano, Caterina & Carra, Angela & Carimi, Francesco & Motisi, Antonio & Abbate, Loredana & Sarno, Mauro & Carrubba, Alessandra. (2022). Long-Term Field Evaluation of Conventional vs. Micropropagated Plants of Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium. Agronomy. 12. 2756. 10.3390/agronomy12112756.