Move over hydroponics, the new star of the scene is tissue culture. Whether being carried out at home with DIY tissue culture sets or in large scale grows, tissue culture is becoming a household technique amongst growing enthusiasts.
Also known as micro-propagation, tissue culture process is a technique that can help you to grow uniform plants in quick succession. Although it was once primarily used amongst scientists in white coats at fluorescent labs, tissue culture process is now readily used amongst the everyday avid cultivator. It is a basic technique and can be used for indoor grows as long as sufficient light is provided, along with a sterile environment and the right materials (such as Agar).
If you are seeking out the best Agar, then you are most likely already aware that the tissue culture process is an umbrella term for a diverse range of techniques that rely on the same principle: to use a minute part of an existing plant (whether cells or tissues) to propagate other, new plants in a sterile and tightly controlled environment. Most methods will need the following:
- A sterile container
- Controlled environment and,
- The correct medium
The correct medium is usually composed of a type of gel substance, the most popular being agar gel. The gel acts as stability at the base of the container, holding the plant cells or tissues. However, this gel is more than just a base. It is meant to contain all the nutrients that the new cells or tissues need to grow and become plantlets.
Agar generally holds the following hormones to stimulate optimal development:
- Cytokinins (these assist with shoot growth)
- Auxins (these help with new root growth)
The correct agar medium will also contain the following:
- sucrose, glucose or other carbohydrates
- nicotinic acid, pyridoxine, B1 or other vitamins
Combined, these elements become a suitable material for the new species to develop.
There are several varieties of Agar, and each one can influence the development of the new tissue and cells in different ways. The most important factors most people consider when looking for the best Agar for their plant tissue culture is the price and the quality of the Agar. Before you purchase, make sure that your chosen Agar has all the right boxes checked, and is a pure product.
What Makes Agar Such a Great Gelling Agent?
Agar has been used as an agent in tissue culture for several years due to its strength as a gel, its minimal mineral content, and its transparency. Developing plants in vitro requires that you follow a strict series of steps, including providing the developing culture with a suitable growing medium. With the ever-increasing interest in cultivating plants, fruits, and flowers, the ease of the tissue culture process is being enjoyed by more and more at home growers and small scale cultivators. And with the growing interest in the tissue culture process comes the rising curiosity in Agar and DIY tissue culture kits.
Where does Agar come from?
Agar comes from seaweed or red algae, and is not only used as a gelling agent in the tissue culture process, but also throughout other industries too. This dextrous substance has been utilized in Biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, dentistry, microbiology, and even cosmetics due to the following characteristics:
- Gelling agent
As we already mentioned, there are several different types, or grades, of Agar. These grades are:
- Tissue culture
As the name implies, you will need to use Tissue Culture grade Agar for your micropropagation.
Why is Agar so popular?
Agar is a favorite growing medium due to the following characteristics:
- It is currently the strongest known natural gelling agent
- It can withstand the temperatures required for sterilization purposes
- It is a thermo reversible gel
- When it is mixed with H2O, it melts in temperatures from 60 - 100 Celsius
- It becomes solid at 45 degree Celsius
- It remains a stable gel at incubation temperatures
- It remains unchanged or unaffected by other constitutes in the process
- Plant enzymes do not digest Agar
If you are curious about tissue culture, why not give it a go with a basic DIY tissue culture set? By using a kit from a trusted company like Plant Cell Tech, you can get a kickstart as you begin to develop your culturing skills. Some packages will have everything included - beakers, flasks, and other equiptment, while others will provide specific supplies like tissue mediums such as Agar.
Buying an Agar medium for tissue culture means you won't have to go through the process of formulating one on your own. And what's more, you can be sure that you have the best Agar that will encourage optimal root development and shoot multiplication in your home grow.