The SIVB student poster presentation competition was held during the 2017 annual meeting in Raleigh, NC.  All non-interactive animal and plant student poster presenters were included to participate and be reviewed and scored by judges as they presented their work.  This year we had 23 judges, with diverse backgrounds, working together to identify the top three presentations based on a range of scoring criteria. The winners of the competition were: Kevin F. Piunno from University of Gueleph – Ontario, Canada won first prize, Eric Dean from The Ohio State University – Wooster, Ohio won 2nd prize and Thanh-Tam Ho – Department of Horticultural Science, Division of Animal, Horticulture and Food Sciences, Chungbuk National University, Korea won 3rd prize. Awards were presented at the SIVB Business Meeting.

Submitted by Martina Garda


First Place Award

A System for Passive Humidity Control of In Vitro Culture Vessels

High relative humidity can contribute to developmental problems known as hyperhydricity (vitrification) for in vitro plants. Forced air systems to control the headspace are costly and cumbersome. Ventilated lids are an inexpensive solution, but are neither uniform nor accurate. This project prototyped and evaluated a novel system which is placed inside the culture vessel and passively controls relative humidity. Health improvements to in vitro plants included increased chlorophyll content, increased desiccation tolerance and reduced symptoms of hyperhydricity. This system could also be used to harden plants to ex vitro conditions and to study the effects of relative humidity in vitro.

Kevin F. Piunno, Gosling Research Institute for Plant Preservation, University of Guelph, Plant Agriculture, 50 Stone Road East, Guelph, ON, CANADA. In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology -Plant (2017),, Abstract P-3035.


Second Place Award

A Soybean Glycinin Promoter Drives High Cotyledon-enhanced Expression in Both Somatic and Zygotic Embryos

In order to precisely and continuously study expression of soybean seed storage proteins during embryo development, in vitro systems are needed. In vitro embryo development methods have been developed both as a means to recover interspecific hybrids following wide crosses, and as a tool for plant regeneration from embryogenic cultures. While these in vitro soybean embryo development systems have been used for plant recovery, they are not often used to study gene expression or factors that influence seed composition. Somatic and zygotic embryos, cultured in vitro, could provide a rapid system for modelling compositional changes or results from modification to seed storage protein genes. For this research, our goals were to further normalize soybean somatic embryo development, as well as provide additional methods for in vitro studies of zygotic embryo development by monitoring cotyledon growth and expression of a late-development cotyledon-enhanced promoter.  A soybean glycinin promoter, designated GmSeed5, was cloned upstream of the green fluorescent protein coding region and introduced into soybean. Non-transformed cotyledons from zygotic embryos were also used in embryo development studies. Embryos were cultured on MSM6, SHaM, and a B5 based embryo rescue medium and monitored using both manual and semi-automated image collection.  Cotyledons developed on SHaM displayed an average 2.3-fold increase in area over a 180-hour time period while cotyledons on MSM6 and the B5 media showed a 1.7-fold increase in cotyledon size, with no statistical difference between the either treatment. Immature zygotic embryos developed on SHaM for two weeks prior to desiccation germinated with 100% efficiency. MSM6-developed embryos germinated with 94% efficiency, and B5 embryos germinated at 68%. GFP expression, regulated by the glycinin promoter increased in cultured somatic embryos after 25 days on solid SHaM. This in vitro embryo development system is a valuable tool to study embryo development, embryo- or cotyledon-enhanced promoters and changes to genes associated with seed composition.

Eric A Dean, Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, OARDC, The Ohio State University, Wooster, OH.  In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology -Plant (2017),, Abstract P-3003.


Third Place Award

Improvement of Biosynthesis and Accumulation of Secondary Metabolites by Elicitation in Adventitious Root Cultures of Echinacea purpurea

Echinacea is an important herbal medicine used in the treatment of the common cold, and it is also a prominent dietary supplement used throughout the world. In vitro plant materials are good sources of bioactive compounds, and the elicitation technique can be used as an effective tool to improve the biosynthesis of these compounds. In this study, adventitious roots of Echinacea purpurea were cultured in 300 mL Erlenmeyer flasks containing 100 mL ¾-strength MS medium supplemented with 4.92 μM IBA and 3% sucrose. After 3 weeks of culture, biotic (yeast extract and chitosan) and abiotic (methyl jasmonate and salicylic acid) elicitors were applied and their influences on E. purpurea growth and secondary metabolite accumulation were examined. After 1 week of exposure, the abiotic elicitors caused a greater root growth inhibition than the biotic elicitors did; however, the abiotic elicitors improved secondary metabolite production from adventitious roots of E. purpurea. The caffeic derivatives caftaric acid, chlorogenic acid, cichoric acid, and echinacoside were analyzed by HPLC. In addition, adventitious roots of three Echinacea species (E. purpurea, E. angustifolia,and E. pallida) were analyzed by HPLC for comparison of caffeic derivative accumulation. Among those, E. purpurea had the highest content of caffeic derivatives (72.34 mg/g DW), 1.5-fold higher than that of E. angustifolia and E. pallida. These results may be useful in developing large-scale adventitious root cultures for production of biomass and bioactive compounds of Echinacea.

Thanh-Tam Ho, Department of Horticultural Science, Division of Animal, Horticulture and Food Sciences, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, REPUBLIC OF KOREA. In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology -Plant (2017),, Abstract P-3041.