Embryogenic cell suspensions of triploid East African Highland bananas (Musa AAA-EA) were initiated and generated using cooking cultivar ‘Nakyetengu’ belonging to the Nakabululu clone set. Immature male flowers produced embryogenic calli consisting of embryos and friable tissue after 4 mo culture on a modified MA1 callus induction medium.
Friable calli were initiated and maintained in liquid MA2 medium.A cell growth rate of 1.5–2.0 sedimented cell volume (SCV) per month was observed. Embryo development was observed at 2.18×103 embryos per mL SCV. Germination of these embryos was observed at 2.8% and 6.2% for two cell suspension lines. Plant regeneration efficiency was 60–100%,
all producing normal plants with a shoot and roots at weaning. In the field, somatic cell-derived plants were all normal morphology and comparable to control plants during vegetative and reproductive stages. This study is a breakthrough for recalcitrant East African Highland banana and offers a system that can provide essential raw materials for associated germplasm
improvement through genetic engineering approaches.