Sterile leucaena becomes a reality?
Keynote paper presented at the International Leucaena Conference, 1‒3 November 2018, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
A research program to develop sterile leucaena has commenced to enhance red-meat production in additional regions of Australia including Western Australia, Northern Territory and New South Wales, where growing seeded leucaena is not currently permitted or encouraged. In this study we report on the development of methodology using a mutagenizing agent, EMS (ethyl methanesulfonate), to cause mutations in the self-fertile commercial leucaena cultivar, Redlands. Several experiments to determine the optimum rate of EMS have been completed and first generation mutagenized plants (M0) established in the field at Redlands Research Station, Cleveland, Queensland, Australia. An EMS concentration of 0.35% applied to germination paper proved the best method to achieve a target emergence percentage of 50%. To date, 27 of 179 mutagenized M0 seedless plants are considered to be putatively sterile. A further 1,200 M0 plants have been established in the field providing an even greater chance of identifying sterile leucaena plants with the desired forage quality and psyllid-resistance attributes.