Tissue cell culture is a process of micropropagation, where cells are used to grow new, mature plants under carefully controlled conditions. The process is not limited to plant propagation, as animal cells can also undergo tissue culture to be proliferated.
In this article, we will focus on how tissue culture is being used to propagate plant species.
How Does Tissue Culture Work?
Cultivators must adhere to stringent protocol if they want to perform successful tissue culture. Generally, the particular protocol prescribed is based on the specific plant species or even individual strain that is being cultured. Although aseptic and austere environments are imperative for successful tissue culture, there are several other factors to consider. Including, but not limited to, appropriate growing medium, gelling agents, regulators, and other growth materials - all regulators that can instigate and maintain the growth of cells to encourage root and shoot development. As a grower, you will need to ensure that the cells are given the correct nutrients, and you will be required to continually check up on the nutrient levels. By ensuring that the cells of developing plants are stable and supported, you will be able to perform subculturing if the need arises.
Whether tissue culture is used for treatment of disease, production of vaccines and antibodies, species management, agriculture, or environmental conservation, it is gaining popularity, and the world is embracing it as the future of cloning.
The rise in global demand for tissue engineering, particularly in R&D, and the diverse range of ways that tissue culture can be used is causing it to infiltrate almost every market sector across the globe.
North America is one of the global dominators in many scientific sectors, and tissue culture is becoming one of them. Experts estimate that North America is the leading supplier for the tissue culture market, as the United States of America represents the most considerable supply market, with Canada closely behind. The North American region is seeing an increase in research and development in the field of tissue culture, which explains why they are dominating the market supply for tissue culture. However, we are seeing a growth in other areas around the world, with Asia being a hot contender for the tissue culture spotlight.
Market research places Asia as a rising star in the next five years, with estimated growth rates exceeding previous expectations, due to it being one of the largest regions of biopharmaceutical outsourcing. Another reason for Asia’s increasing growth rates in this field is the increasing improvement in its infrastructure supporting the tissue culture market. India, however, is the country that currently has the fastest growing tissue culture market in the world; more specifically, the fastest growing tissue culture supply market.
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What is Behind this Drive in India?
There are several factors driving the exponential growth of this tissue culture supply market. The major factors include an increase in research and development in the field of engineering (in relation to tissue culture), as well as an increase in demand for consistent quality genetics and biopharmaceuticals. Artificial organs are another major driving factor for the cell and tissue culture field. Furthermore, there is an increased awareness about tissue culture techniques, as research and development is becoming increasingly focused on addressing chronic diseases and conditions.
Tissue culture is currently viewed as a costly investment. However, as awareness surrounding the techniques expands, so does understanding of the rewards. And if an investment can reap sound rewards, then the costs seem to be diminished in the eyes of promising profits.
It is estimated that In India, the plant tissue culture market is sitting at Rs 500 crore. In 2006, India’s Department of Biotechnology realized the potential profits that the tissue culture industry could bring and decided to introduce NCS-TCP, with the objective of turning tissue culture companies into production facilities that could offer plants of consistently high quality and with little to no diseases. Using tissue culture, cultivators can find the ‘perfect’ genes and then use a few of the cells to propagate hundreds of uniform plants. High quality, uniform plants that can either fall under the agricultural and food sector, the ornamental sector (highly sought after orchids and other costly flora and fauna), or even in-demand cannabis species that can be cultured for potential medicinal properties or commercial profits.
While the history of tissue culture goes back to the ’70s, with the micropropagation of difficult to grow orchids in the USA, it has now become a global phenomenon. India is looking to maximize profits by finding a combination of unique, specialty plants, as well as plants that generate steady revenue by meeting global tastes. The future of tissue culture may be uncharted territory, but it certainly could be a profitable one for many countries, including India.