Throughout the realms of biological and scientific advancements over the years, there have been a few standout discoveries that have shaped our industrial and consumer worlds. One of these standouts is the tissue culture process.
Whether you are an at-home grower, a small scale agriculturalist, or a full-blown corporation, the tissue culture process is relevant to you.
What Exactly is this Tissue Culture Process?
The tissue culture process allows you to get more cells, new cells, or tissue, from existing plant matter.
You may be thinking, but isn't that how seeds and germination work? Well, the difference is that the tissue culture process allows you to use living matter or organisms, not seeds, to reproduce new plants or plantlets. This process where the cells are cultured is done in an artificial environment.
While this process may seem complicated, rest assured, it is easier than it initially sounds. When the process is done in a lab, expensive equipment is used, however, when performed at home, relatively common household items can be used for DIY Tissue Culture.
While some plants are more challenging to culture than others, plants such as cannabis can be cultivated with relative ease as long as the right protocol is followed.
Why You Should use Plant Tissue Culture
The most beneficial piece of the plant tissue culture process is that it allows you to grow multiple plants in a short period of time that are not only carrying quality disease-free genes, but are also uniform in their genetic makeup. This is particularly useful for medical marijuana growers who rely on a specific strain of cannabis for the particular health benefits, as well as companies making a profit from selling the plant material or derived products.
Another reason to do DIY tissue culture that may not be so apparent is that it can be an enjoyable process. In other words, you could have fun doing it. For some, cultivating plants using tissue culture is a rewarding hobby.
DIY Tissue Culture
Firstly, you need to have a decent amount of space to set up your home lab, grow room, or whatever else you would like to call it. Whether it is a garage or spare room, the space must be one that can be strictly controlled.
One expensive piece of lab equipment generally used by scientists is called an autoclave, which is used to physically disinfect your specimens. If you are at home, you can use a pressure cooker or even a microwave. You will also need to make sure you have proper liquid disinfectants and a handful of other materials.
Take a look at this list of items you may need for your DIY Tissue Culture:
- Microwave or pressure cooker
- Disinfectants like hydrogen peroxide or bleach
- Recycled glass bottles (the container for the developing plants). Some people report that the size of a baby food bottle fits perfectly
- You could also need water, vinegar, baking soda, and sugar so make sure that you have these on hand
DIY Tissue Culture: The Essentials
Earlier, we mentioned a protocol for culturing cannabis; this means that you should research how it has been done before with the plant species you wish to culture, and this protocol should be used as a guideline for your DIY process.
Next up, you have to gather the plant you want to use for the culture process. The plant you use should be as healthy as possible, with no diseases. What part of the plant you use depends on the protocol for that specific plant culturing. Remember that the tissue culture process relies on a clean environment, which means that you should always make sure that you are clean, with clean clothes, before you begin the culturing. Contamination is the number one reason for most tissue culture process failures.
The plants also require clean air. To ensure air is clean, you can use a makeshift glove box or clean box. One common homemade box is to repurpose an old fish tank or to use transparent plastic over PVC piping.
One of the essential parts of the tissue culture process is the growing medium. This is the substance that your prepared plant material will be placed onto, and it should provide two things: stability and nutrients. One of the most popular growing mediums is Agar, a gel-like substance that provides essential hormones and nutrients to support root development and shoot growth. Read about how our Agar compares to our competitors!
The elements outlined above are the most critical to the tissue culture process, and as you can see, all of them are available at your home or local convenience store if you are interested in carrying out a simplified process DIY project. Simply search the protocol for the plant species you want to culture, make sure that all the elements detailed above are accounted for, and soon you will be growing platelets of plants out of the pantry, or wherever you decide to set up your grow space.