Bulb size is an important factor determining phase change in Lilium: phase change only occurs in bulblets over a certain threshold weight. After phase change has occurred, bulblets sprout with a stem with many leaves. Juvenile bulblets sprout with only a few leaves. The factors contributing to bulb size were studied during in vitro regeneration of bulblets on scale segments. The larger the explants, the larger the regenerated bulblets. Explant size influenced bulb growth during the complete culture period. Bulb growth was stimulated by a high sucrose concentration. The contribution of the medium and the explant reserves to bulb growth were studied in large and small explants using labelled sucrose. Sucrose was mainly taken up through the cut surfaces. In freshly cut explants, the rate of uptake was correlated with the size of the contact area, but at later stages, when regenerating organs were present, the difference in uptake rate of small and large explants almost disappeared. Small explants had a larger sink activity than large ones. Explants with regenerating organs took up more sucrose than freshly cut explants. Sucrose uptake and bulb growth were rather constant in the later phases and doubled when the sucrose concentration was doubled. Partitioning of label from the sucrose over the various organs, was also rather constant in time: approximately 25% was accumulated in the bulblets, 35-45% in the explant and 30-35% was converted to CO2. About half of the label in the explant was recovered at the proximal side where regeneration takes place. Sucrose, once incorporated in the storage pools in the explant, either remained in the explant or was converted to CO2. Redistribution to the growing bulblets hardly occurred. The percentage of bulb growth that could be attributed to uptake of medium components was constant over the regeneration period: 45-50% for large and 65-75% for small explants.
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