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  • To: =?utf-7?Q?=27Daniel_Nelson=27?= <sussextreeinc@ce.net>
  • Subject: =?utf-7?Q?RE=3A_Presumptions_about_your_mother?=
  • From: =?utf-7?Q?Rick_Grazzini?= <rickg@centrelab.com>
  • Date: Thu, 25 Mar 1999 08:40:34 -0500

Dan Nelson asked:
+AD4- Rick,
+AD4- A message I sent to hosta open has generated a question I 
+AD4- wish you would
+AD4- help me out with. It seems right up your alley.

Surflan has as its active ingredient (AI) the chemical oryzalin.  Oryzalin
is a very potent herbicide.  It acts by interfering with cellular skeleton
mechanisms, including the separation of chromosomes during mitosis (cell

You can use Surflan AS (the most common nursery formulation) to double the
chromosome number in plants.  In other words, to take a diploid and make it
into a tetraploid.  The hemerocallis people do this all the time.  Surflan
is supposedly much safer to use than colchicine.  

The active concentration needed for chromosome doubling purposes is very
very tiny --- 1:100,000 works just fine.  Kevin Vaughn uses 1:140,000 (ca.
10 micromolar) effectively on hems.  On the other hand, Tony Avent indicated
to alpine-L that he uses 1:100 or 1:200.  

This is a huge difference.  Both levels are effective, and neither is more
effective than the other.  Why?  Because oryzalin (the AI) is barely
water-soluble --- without help, only enough to make a 10 micromolar (uM)
concentration actually dissolves.  In the formulated product (Surflan AS)
there are solvents which enhance the solubility of oryzalin, but within the
plant, the actual concentration probably drops back to 10 uM or so.  

What I am saying is that if you add more Surflan, no more gets into the

I have been trying to find the time to work out the Surflan system on hostas
this winter.  Right now, I have a dozen or so colchicine-doubled hostas in
the greenhouse, and I hope to be posting instructions on how I did it to
this (and to the other hosta Robins) by the end of May.  My success rate at
doubling is now +AD4-80+ACU-, so I am comfortable saying I can now do it reliably.
I have a warning to all of you, though: at least 60+ACU- of the hosta doublings
that I did created what I believe are L1 cytochimerae.  In other words, I
have a layer of L1 tetraploid tissue on top of regular diploid L2 tissue.
These will breed (at least most of the time) as diploids, not tetraploids.
With any luck at all, I should know that in a year or so.  

The colchicine-induced L1/L2 tetraploids that I made are growing very very
slowly.  I will be distributing a few of these to a select group of hosta
buddies later this spring.  Others will be taken through a seed stage to
make sure that I really do have a doubled L2.  Others --- maybe --- will be
worth considering for release.  But don't hold your breath --- I'm not.  

Rick Grazzini
central PA USA
USDA z5b/6a
minimum temperature: average -5 to -10 F
minimum temperature: minus 20 F (rarely)

487 Nimitz Avenue
State College, PA 16801 USA

+ACI-It is of no use saying 'We are doing our best.'  
 You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.+ACI-
--- Sir Winston Churchill
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