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​Applications of Tissue Culture in Agriculture (Part-1)

9th Nov 2021

​Applications of Tissue Culture in Agriculture (Part-1)

Introduction

For years, the plant tissue culture technique has been an advantageous technique for plant propagation at a commercial scale. It has been used for purposes mentioned like:

  • To conserve endangered or critically endangered species.
  • To achieve rapid production of plants irrespective of their seasons.
  • For haploid production.
  • To produce disease-free plants.
  • To shorten the dormancy period of seeds.
  • To conserve the germplasm of several plants.
  • For genetic transformation.
  • To produce varieties that are tolerant to salinity, drought, and heat stresses.

The technique consists of a group of advanced techniques, which include molecular genetics, recombinant DNA studies, genome characterization, gene-transfer techniques, aseptic growth of cells, tissues, organs, and in vitro regeneration of plants. These technologies have applications in crop improvement and agriculture, which is the focus of this article.

How Tissue Culture is Advantageous for Agriculture?

Tissue culture is used by culturists worldwide to increase the efficiency of the industries working towards fulfilling the global food demand. Some of the advantages of tissue culture in agriculture in crop improvement include:

  • Uniform growth of plants: Variability in the crops, mainly within the same species, can be eliminated by using tissue culture. This leads to the uniform production of plants.
  • Genetic enhancement: Tissue culture can be used to choose the best genes from the plants and increase their efficiency at an even commercial scale. It helps the farmers to achieve the highest-profile potential by encouraging high yields in the shortest amount of time and producing vigorous and disease-resistant plants.
  • Genetic preservation: By using tissue culture techniques culturists can preserve desirable genetics and eliminate the risk of losing the genetic profile over time. Genetic preservation also helps to protect the plants that are endangered or on the verge of extinction.
  • Year-round produce: The best thing about tissue culture is that it can be used to produce plants year-round irrespective of their favorite seasons.

Application of different Tissue Culture Technique in Crop Improvement

Wide Hybridization

The process of gene transfer between two plants that lead to the formation of the embryo can be blocked at any stage due to multiple factors. These functional barriers are categorized into two groups: pre-zygotic barriers, such as the failure of pollen to germinate or poor pollen-tube growth; and post-zygotic barriers to hybridization, such as lack of endosperm development. These barriers can be overcome using in vitro fertilization techniques, embryo or ovule culture, or protoplast fusion.

In-vitro Fertilization

In vitro fertilization is a useful technique that facilitates both interspecific or intraspecific genetic crosses. This helps in overcoming the physiological incompatibility that occurs during hybrid formation. The crops that have been already tested using the technique include agricultural crops, such as tobacco, clover, corn, rice, Cole, canola, poppy, and cotton.

Embryo Culture

Embryo culture is a useful technique to overcome embryo abortion, low seed set, seed dormancy, slow seed germination, inducing embryo growth in the absence of a symbiotic partner, and the production of monoploids of barley. Some of the case studies for the application of this technique are:

  • The embryo rescue technique was used to reduce the breeding cycle of Iris from 2 to 3 years to a few months.
  • The technique was used to introduce interspecific and intergeneric hybrids of many crops including, cotton, barley, tomato, rice, jute, Hordeum X Secale, Triticum X Secale, Tripsacm x Zea, and some Brassicas.
  • This technique is useful in producing hybrid wheat.

Protoplast Fusion

Protoplast fusion is the best technique to produce hybrids of plants, which simply can not be produced by using conventional techniques. Some of the cases mentioning the use of the techniques are given below:

  • In Nicotiana or tobacco plants, the technique was used to modify the alkaloid and disease-resistant traits of commercial tobacco cultivars. The hybrids of Nicotiana produced using the technique have also been found to be resistant to root-knot nematodes and spider mites.
  • The technique has also been found to be useful in producing somatic hybrids of plants like Brassicas, citrus, rice, carrot, canola, tomato, and the forage legumes alfalfa and clover.
  • In 1968, two scientists Evans and Bravo suggested four areas that need to be focused on while producing novel hybrids using protoplast fusion. It includes:
  1. Agriculturally important traits
  2. Producing combinations that can only be produced/achieved by protoplast fusion.
  3. Somatic hybrids integrated into a conventional breeding program.
  4. The extension of protoplast regeneration to a wider range of crop species.

Haploid Production

The doubled in vitro-produced haploids save both time and cost when it comes to producing homozygous breeding lines with high efficiency, compared with other methods. The three methods used to produce haploids are:

  • Culture of excised ovaries and ovules.
  • The bulbosum technique of embryo culture.
  • Culture of excised anthers and pollen.

Pollen, microspore, and anther culture have been used to produce haploids of at least 171 species of plants. It includes cereals (barley, maize, rice, rye, triticale, and wheat), forage crops (alfalfa and clover), fruits (grape and strawberry), medicinal plants (Digitalis and Hyoscyamus), ornamentals (Gerbera and sunflower), oilseeds (canola and rape), trees (apple, lit&, poplar and rubber), plantation crops (cotton, sugar cane and tobacco), and vegetable crops (asparagus, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, pepper, potato, sugar beet, sweet potato, tomato, and wing bean).

More about this topic will be covered in part two of the subject.

Further, if you need any assistance with your tissue culture processes, choose the unique plant cell technology consultation service. We help you at every stage of your process and train you to be a pro in the application of the technique.

Happy Culturing!

Source: Giphy

References

  1. Brown, D. C. W., & Thorpe, T. A. (1995). Crop improvement through tissue culture. World Journal of Microbiology & Biotechnology, 11(4), 409–415. doi:10.1007/bf00364616
  2. https://www.plantcelltechnology.com/pct-blog/why-tissue-culture-could-be-the-greatest-innovation-to-happen-to-farmers/
  3. El-Sherif, N. A. (2017). Impact of Plant Tissue Culture on Agricultural Sustainability. The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry. doi:10.1007/698_2017_160
  4. Twaij, B. M., Jazar, Z. H., & Hasan, M. N. (2020). Trends in the use of tissue culture, applications and future aspects. International Journal of Plant Biology, 11(1). doi:10.4081/pb.2020.8385

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