In vitro selection is one of the most effective and efficient techniques for plant improvement. This is due to its ability to isolate plants with the desired character(s), either by applying a selection agent on the culture media to drive the selection of somaclones with the required character(s), or by establishing particular conditions that change in the genomes of somaclones toward the required character. The objective of this study was to identify a suitable protocol for in vitro
selection of Allium
white rot disease ( Sclerotium cepivorum
) tolerance in commercial Egyptian onion varieties, namely Giza 20, Giza 6 and Beheri Red. Oxalic acid (OA), the phytotoxin produced by Sclerotium cepivorum
, was used as the selective agent. Seeds of the three Egyptian varieties were germinated on four concentrations (0.0, 0.02, 0.2, 2 and 20 mM) of Oxalic acid. Among the tested cultivars, Beheri Red had the highest germination frequency (52%) at all concentrations tested, followed by Giza 20 (42.6%), and Giza 6 at (32%). Cotyledon explants from the varieties were cultured on toxic MSBDK
> medium, supplemented with 0, 3, 6 and 12 mM OA. The survival of calli on MSBDK
free toxic medium was 70.7% for all tested cultivars; however, MSBDK-stressed medium, with 3 mM OA reduced the viable calli to 42.1%. The highest OA concentration (12 mM) completely inhibited calli induction from cotyledons explants. A medium supplement with 3 mM OA retarded 80% of calli growth. Among 156 tested calli of Beheri Red, only 23 calli (14.7%) survived on toxic medium for 45 days. Similarly, there was 15.6% survival for Giza 20 calli, while 40.1% of the Giza 6 calli survived. Plantlets were regenerated from surviving calli and transplanted onto ex vitro
, and formed bulb after acclimatisation.