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Tissue culture is the in vitro aseptic culture of cells, tissues, organs or whole plant under controlled nutritional and environmental conditions often to produce the clones of plants. The resultant clones are true-to type of the selected genotype. The controlled conditions provide the culture an environment conducive for their growth and multiplication. These conditions include proper supply of nutrients, pH medium, adequate temperature and proper gaseous and liquid environment.

Plant tissue culture technology is being widely used for large scale plant multiplication. Apart from their use as a tool of research, plant tissue culture techniques have in recent years, become of major industrial importance in the area of plant propagation, disease elimination, plant improvement and production of secondary metabolites. Small pieces of tissue (named explants) can be used to produce hundreds and thousands of plants in a continuous process. A single explant can be multiplied into several thousand plants in relatively short time period and space under controlled conditions, irrespective of the season and weather on a year round basis. Endangered, threatened and rare species have successfully been grown and conserved by micropropagation because of high coefficient of multiplication and small demands on number of initial plants and space.

In addition, plant tissue culture is considered to be the most efficient technology for crop improvement by the production of somaclonal and gametoclonal variants. The micropropagation technology has a vast potential to produce plants of superior quality, isolation of useful variants in well-adapted high yielding genotypes with better disease resistance and stress tolerance capacities.

Certain type of callus cultures give rise to clones that have inheritable characteristics different from those of parent plants due to the possibility of occurrence of somaclonal variability, which leads to the development of commercially important improved varieties.

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Commercial production of plants through micropropagation techniques has several advantages over the traditional methods of propagation through seed, cutting, grafting and air-layering etc. It is rapid propagation processes that can lead to the production of plants virus free.

Impact of Tissue culture in agriculture

As an emerging technology, the plant tissue culture has a great impact on both agriculture and industry, through providing plants needed to meet the ever increasing world demand. It has made significant contributions to the advancement of agricultural sciences in recent times and today they constitute an indispensable tool in modern agriculture.

Biotechnology has been introduced into agricultural practice at a rate without precedent. Tissue culture allows the production and propagation of genetically homogeneous, disease-free plant material. Cell and tissue in vitro culture is a useful tool for the induction of somaclonal variation.

Genetic variability induced by tissue culture could be used as a source of variability to obtain new stable genotypes. Interventions of biotechnological approaches for in vitro regeneration, mass micropropagation techniques and gene transfer studies in tree species have been encouraging. In vitro cultures of mature and/or immature zygotic embryos are applied to recover plants obtained from inter-generic crosses that do not produce fertile seeds. Genetic engineering can make possible a number of improved crop varieties with high yield potential and resistance against pests. Genetic transformation technology relies on the technical aspects of plant tissue culture and molecular biology for:

  • Production of improved crop varieties
  • Production of disease-free plants (virus)
  • Genetic transformation
  • Production of secondary metabolites
  • Production of varieties tolerant to salinity, drought and heat stresses
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Advantages ofย  Plant Tissue Culture

There are several advantages to using the tissue culture process. We already mentioned its effectiveness in helping developing countries to increase food production, but what are some other advantages that may be relevant to you?

  • The new plantlets can be grown in a short amount of time.
  • Only a small amount of initial plant tissue is required.
  • The new plantlets and plants are more likely to be free of viruses and diseases.
  • The process is not dependant on the seasons and can be done throughout the year.
  • You need only a relatively small space to perform the process (ten times the plants in one-tenth of the space).
  • On a larger scale, the tissue culture process helps to supply the consumer market with new subspecies and variety.
  • People looking to cultivate challenging plants such as specific breeds of orchid find more success with the tissue culture process than traditional soil.

Disadvantages of Tissue Culture

  • Tissue Culture can require more labor and cost more money.
  • There is a chance that the propagated plants will be less resilient to diseases due to the type of environment they are grown in.
  • It is imperative that, before being cultured, the material is screened; failure to pick up any abnormalities could lead to the new plants being infected.
  • While the success rate is high if the correct procedures are followed, success with the tissue culture is not a guarantee. There is still a chance that the process triggers a secondary metabolic chemical reaction, and the new explants or cells’ growth gets stunted, or even die off.
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What Makes Tissue Culture So Great?

Tissue culture can be used in the reproduction of a wide variety of species and has many practical applications.

By using the tissue culture process, a plant’s yield can be increased dramatically, and in a short amount of time. The plant can also be genetically altered so that it becomes immune to certain diseases and viruses. The genetic modification enables growers to ensure that plants carry very specific characteristics. In many cases, businesses and individuals will propagate the plants to carry specific traits that are more profitable for their business, or more desirable for personal use.

On another note, the tissue culture process can be used to promote the survival of a rare plant or endangered species.

Lastly, the tissue culture technique relies on the plant’s innate ability to rejuvenate cells quickly, and these rejuvenated cells are copies most often referred to as clones.

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