By Licznerski, P.; Lema-Rumińska, J.; Michałowska, E.; Tymoszuk, A.; Winiecki, J. Agronomy 2023, 13, 2732.
Ever wondered how these specialist plant breeders get the weird forms of Astrophytum? Read on!
Cacti are important in agricultural economies and one of the most popular horticultural plant groups. The genus Astrophytum is one of the most valuable and desirable cacti for growers and collectors around the world. By selecting the appropriate breeding methods to induce variations in combination with modern biotechnology tools for rapid change detection, it is possible to meet the challenges of the modern world in creating new variability in plants. However, there exists a lack of research concerning the impact of ionizing radiation on cacti. The aim of the study was to assess the effects of X-rays at different doses (0 Gy—control, 15, 20, 25, and 50 Gy) on the dynamics of seed germination in vitro, changes in the color of seedlings, biochemical changes in the content of metabolites and changes at the molecular level in Astrophytum spp. ‘Purple’. A significant effect of X-rays on the induction of genetic variation was observed. Remarkably high polymorphism rates were observed, ranging from 59.09% for primer S12 to a full 100.0% for S3 and S8, as determined by the SCoT (Start-Codon-Targeted) marker. In addition, a large variation in the content of plant pigments (anthocyanins, carotenoids, chlorophyll a, and chlorophyll b) was noted. Additionally, discernible alterations in the color of the tested cactus seedlings, assessed by the RHSCC catalog, were attributed to the impact of ionizing radiation. These findings hold promise for the application of radiomutation breeding in acquiring new cactus cultivars.