The process of fusing protoplasts from two different sources is called protoplast fusion or somatic hybridization.
Protoplast fusion can be done using the following methods:
- Chemical fusion: In this method, chemical agents such as polyethylene glycol (PEG) are used to induce fusion of protoplasts.
- Electrical fusion: In this method, protoplasts are subjected to an electric field, which causes them to fuse together.
- Enzymatic fusion: In this method, enzymes such as cellulase and pectinase are used to digest the cell walls of protoplasts, allowing them to fuse together.
The agricultural importance of protoplast fusion is that it allows the creation of new plant hybrids that combine desirable traits from different parent plants. For example, protoplast fusion has been used to create new crop varieties with improved disease resistance, increased yield, and better quality traits. It also allows the transfer of traits that are difficult to transfer through conventional breeding methods, such as resistance to certain pests or environmental stresses.