The change in the developmental pathway of microspores from gametophytic to sporophytic is induced by stress during pretreatment of spikes and anthers. In our experiments, anther culture of three barley cultivars was tested with regard to the effect of chilling at 4?C for 28 days, starvation in 0.3 M mannitol solution for 4 days, and a combination of both methods. Chilling was shown to increase embryo/callus formation, while mannitol treatment favoured plant development, including development of green plants; simultaneous application of the two stress factors for 4 days proved to be ineffective. The tested cultivars exhibited a similar ability (calculated per 100 transferred embryos/calli) to develop plants without pretreatment; however, their responses to stress varied greatly. The collected data indicate that mannitol pretreatment, as compared to chilling, is more efficient in responsive cultivars.