Using paper bags to collect fresh pollen

Pollen collection with wax coated paper bags can be used for crops such as maize and pumpkin (Fig. 37).

  1. Place wax-coated paper bags over maize tassels just prior to anthesis (the time when a flower is fully open and functional, timing of anthesis require observations beforehand) to prevent pollinator visits. The same method can be followed for pumpkins (Stoner & Eitzer, 2012) (Fig. 38).
  2. Twist the bag’s opening around the stem of the flower, for securing it to the plant.
    It is not necessary to seal tightly.
  3. Remove bags from maize plants after one or two days. In the case of pumpkins, bags should be removed the next day when nectar production peaks, because nectar may contaminate the pollen.
  4. Clean collected pollen by using sieves (pore sizes 0.119 and 0.0043 cm) to remove anthers, insects, and other debris (Fig. 39).
  5. Store collected pollen at -20°C until ready for further testing.

Fig. 37. Pollen collection with wax coated paper bags can be used for maize. Photo: G Dively.


Fig. 38. Pumpkin flowers covered with bags. Photo: G Dively.



Fig. 39. Cleaning of pollen with sieves. Photos: G Dively.


Caitlin  Whiteis
Caitlin Whiteis says:
Mar 10, 2015 12:07 AM

Why is the paper bag method restricted to pumpkins and maize? What are the requirements of the plant to use this method?