Sugar beet shoot tips from cold-acclimated plants were successfully cryopreserved using a vitrification technique. Dissected shoot tips were precultured for 1 day at 5 degreesC on solidified DGJ0 medium with 0.3 M sucrose. After loading for 20 min with a mixture of 2 M glycerol and 0.4 M sucrose (20 degreesC), shoot tips were dehydrated with PVS2 (0 degreesC) for 20 min prior to immersion in liquid nitrogen. Both cold acclimation and loading enhanced the dehydration tolerance of shoot tips to PVS2. After thawing, shoot tips were deloaded for 15 min in liquid DGJO medium with 1.2 M sucrose (20 degreesC). The optimal exposure time to both loading solution and PVS? depended on the in vitro morphology of the clone. With tetraploid clones a higher sucrose concentration during cold acclimation and preculture further enhanced survival after cryopreservation. Survival rates ranged between 60% and 100% depending on the clone. Since only 10-50% of the surviving shoot tips developed into non-hyperhydric shoots, regrowth was optimized.