Multiple meristem cultures of 18 varieties belonging to 5 genome types in Musa (AA, AAA, AAA-h, AAB, ABB) were established by culturing elongated shoots on MS medium supplemented with 100 mu M BAR The top layers comprising the most meristematic tissue, i.e. scalps, were excised and induced for embryogenesis on media containing 1-50 mu M 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D). Embryogenic responses were obtained for each of the tested concentrations, with an optimum at 5 mu M 2,4-D. From the 24,375 scalps tested, only 3.3% resulted in an embryogenic response. The average embryogenic frequency was 6.0% for cooking bananas (ABB), 3.8% for Cavendish-type bananas (AAA) and 1.8% for plantains (AAB). Once embryogenic complexes were transferred to liquid maintenance medium, embryogenic cell suspensions with high regeneration capacity were obtained. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.