A fern spore bank was recently established through the joint collaboration of Central Mindanao University (CMU) and the Natural Science Research Center (NSRC), under the project, “Spore Bank Establishment, Propagation and Conservation of Selected Economically Important Ferns.”

The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) funded the project.

The spore bank is located at the Spore and Tissue Culture Laboratory of NSRC in CMU—the sole institution to offer spore bank in the country. Its goal is to maintain spore availability and viability all year round. CMU professor Dr. Victor B. Amoroso and his team already collected spores from 64 species of ferns and classified them into threatened (11 species), ornamental (60 species), medicinal (60 species), and handicraft materials (2 species).

The establishment of spore bank led to the development of two protocols in spore propagation: pure ground clay pot (GCP) and mixed ground clay pot and ground adventitious roots of tree fern (GART) as medium. These protocols can result in a better germination of spores and mass propagation of plantlets or sporophytes.

It was found out that the most effective culture medium for spore germination is the GCP, while the most effective culture media for sporophyte formation is a mixture of GCP with GART or soil.

According to Dr. Amoroso, the spore bank can save the threatened population and area of occupancy of ferns since spores are not always available throughout the year to produce wildlings or sporophytes.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s September 2018 issue.