Plant tissue culture covers a variety of growing techniques that utilize nutrient culture medium to grow and cultivate new plant media; specifically, plant tissues or plant cells.
One of the most commonly used methods of plant tissue culture is micropropagation. With micropropagation, plant clones can be produced using a minute part of the mother plant. However, unlike traditional cloning, the mother plant does not need to be maintained as only a tiny piece of plant matter is required.
- Tissue culture allows exact replicas of plant matter to be produced. This means that plants with exceptional genes can be multiplied (excellent for food, flower, hemp, and other profitable crops).
- Mature plants develop quicker than traditional propagation methods.
- Sometimes there are situations where seeds or pollinators are absent. In these cases, tissue culture can allow for the production of multiple uniform plants, without seeds or pollination.
- Tissue culture needs to be performed under sterile conditions, dramatically reducing the chance of disease, pathogens, and pests.
- Some plant species, such as Nepenthes and orchids, are difficult to grow from seed and tissue culture can be a way to grow with plants with greater ease.
- Tissue culture can be used to preserve plant genetics, an essential technology with the threat of species extinction
Tissue culture can be used with any plant cells that have a characteristic known as totipotency; in other words, plant cells that can regenerate from a cell into complete, mature plants. Almost any piece of plant matter can be used - parts of stem, roots, or leaves - but this will depend on the plant and related protocol.
The plant media will need to be grown under strict, sterile conditions, and provided with the appropriate culture media, nutrients, hormones. Although your plants may grow healthy without it, plant preservative mixture can be the best investment for your tissue culture. PPM™ can be used as a much more sustainable alternative to antibiotics - it is less expensive and your plants will not develop resistant strains, as they can with antibiotics. Diseases due to contaminated water, pollution, and other fungal infections can be easily managed by the use of PPM™.
There are many areas of cultivation where plant tissue culture can be applied. These areas are organized into three primary sections:
- Environmental issues: to uncover, understand and develop conservation and preservation strategies.
- Research: to understand more about plant cells’ physiology and molecular pathways.
- Commercial application: this is the main area currently under research. It involves analyzing ways that crops can be improved to maximize commercial application and investigate strategic gene manipulation for the maximum efficiency of commercial application.
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Tissue Culture: A Technique Used around the World
Let’s move on to plant and crop-specific applications around the globe. One of the priorities for the continued development of plant tissue culture and in vitro cultivation is helping developing nations grow food. Another area that may not seem as noble but is still important on a commercial and industrial scale is the cultivation of orchids and other hard to germinate plants. Micropropagation is also utilized in commercial cultivation by more developed nations; in the production of everyday foods we buy in the supermarket and in the developing hemp and cannabis industry.
Countries across the globe utilize tissue culture for the cultivation of the following:
- Medicinal plants
- Ornamental plants and crops (the most popular being dahlia, rosa, iris, hyacinth, freesia, begonia)
- Commercial, horticultural and agricultural (the most popular being asparagus, cucumber, grapevine, banana, alfalfa, citrus, sugarcane, tomato, groundnut, strawberry, maize, hemp, and even tobacco)
Plant tissue culture is a crucial technology for many developing industries and developing countries. This is because tissue culture allows developing countries an opportunity to grow high-quality plants and crops that are free from disease and can be grown in tight timelines. Plant tissue culture cultivation techniques can offer food for countries that are unable to grow from seed or more traditional growing methods. Not only can developing countries struggling to grow basic crops begin to grow food for their nation, but they can also open up potential new avenues for trade, which offers an opportunity for market and economic growth.
Cloning plants is not a new concept, and neither is tissue culture. However, micropropagation is steadily taking over traditional cloning methods, as we begin to see it used successfully from hemp nurseries to research labs across the globe. As plant tissue culture begins to grow in popularity, it is becoming easier to start your own tissue culture cultivation at home. With a DIY tissue culture kit, most at home growers and everyday cultivation enthusiasts can make use of cell technology to grow more vigorous plants, whether it’s for a cannabis grow at home or to grow food for a family.