Image_1_Modeling and Optimizing Culture Medium Mineral Composition for in vitro Propagation of Actinidia arguta.TIF
The design of plant tissue culture media remains a complicated task due to the interactions of many factors. The use of computer-based tools is still very scarce, although they have demonstrated great advantages when used in large dataset analysis. In this study, design of experiments (DOE) and three machine learning (ML) algorithms, artificial neural networks (ANNs), fuzzy logic, and genetic algorithms (GA), were combined to decipher the key minerals and predict the optimal combination of salts for hardy kiwi (Actinidia arguta) in vitro micropropagation. A five-factor experimental design of 33 salt treatments was defined using DOE. Later, the effect of the ionic variations generated by these five factors on three morpho-physiological growth responses – shoot number (SN), shoot length (SL), and leaves area (LA) – and on three quality responses - shoots quality (SQ), basal callus (BC), and hyperhydricity (H) – were modeled and analyzed simultaneously. Neurofuzzy logic models demonstrated that just 11 ions (five macronutrients (N, K, P, Mg, and S) and six micronutrients (Cl, Fe, B, Mo, Na, and I)) out of the 18 tested explained the results obtained. The rules “IF – THEN” allow for easy deduction of the concentration range of each ion that causes a positive effect on growth responses and guarantees healthy shoots. Secondly, using a combination of ANNs-GA, a new optimized medium was designed and the desired values for each response parameter were accurately predicted. Finally, the experimental validation of the model showed that the optimized medium significantly promotes SQ and reduces BC and H compared to standard media generally used in plant tissue culture. This study demonstrated the suitability of computer-based tools for improving plant in vitro micropropagation: (i) DOE to design more efficient experiments, saving time and cost; (ii) ANNs combined with fuzzy logic to understand the cause-effect of several factors on the response parameters; and (iii) ANNs-GA to predict new mineral media formulation, which improve growth response, avoiding morpho-physiological abnormalities. The lack of predictability on some response parameters can be due to other key media components, such as vitamins, PGRs, or organic compounds, particularly glycine, which could modulate the effect of the ions and needs further research for confirmation.