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  Effect of Phosphorus Concentration on the Growth of Cattail Callus Cells (EPA/600/JA-03/290) November 2001

This investigation examined Typha latifolia (broadleaf cattail) callus cells grown in five different phosphorus concentrations (0, 11, 22, 33, and 44 milligrams per liter [mg/L]-1). The cells were grown for two successive subcultures on semi-solid media and subsequently in a suspension culture with the same phosphorus levels.

On semi-solid media, the fresh weight of the cells varied by a maximum of 36 percent through both subcultures. The 33 mg/L-1 phosphorous supplied in the original Gamborgs B5 media promoted the greatest fresh weight of the cells in suspension culture over all other concentrations tested. When grown in suspension culture with 0 and 11 mg/L-1 phosphorus, the cells showed a respective 42 and 29 percent reduction in fresh weight. Incubating the cells with 22 and 44 mg/L-1 phosphorus caused a respective 20 and 13 percent reduction in fresh weight.

In addition, this study compared the phosphorus concentration of callus cells against literature-reported values of whole cattail plants incubated at similar concentrations. Data from this study demonstrated that when the cattail callus cells and whole plants are exposed to similar phosphorus concentrations, the concentration in the plant leaves is within the confidence interval (p=0.05) of the concentration in the cattail callus cells. This suggests that cattail callus cells can be used to predict the phosphorous concentration in cattail leaves when they are supplied with similar levels.

If this relationship between callus cells and whole plants is found to be applicable to other marsh plant species, storm water wetland managers can use callus cells as a rapid method to screen plants for their capacity to absorb phosphorus before the plant is established in a wetland. This can increase the effectiveness of the wetland to absorb unwanted pollutants from the storm water entering the site.


Michael Borst

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