Tissue Culture

Propagate plants with tissue culture - foundation for starting tissue culturing; professional development for horticulturists

Course Code: BHT306
Fee Code: S3
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Distance Education Course -Tissue Culture

Learn to propagate plants using micropropagation techniques in a laboratory

Tissue culture involves growing plants from very small sections (sometimes microscopic) in a laboratory. It is a propagation method which is being increasingly used. Tissue culture is not appropriate for many plants, but for specialist plants such as orchids, some indoor plants and many new plant varieties, it is a very popular propagation method.


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Lesson Structure

There are 9 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction including a review of basic plant nutrition.
    • Stages in tissue cultured plant development
    • Introduction to Plant Growth Science, biochemical processes and cell biology
    • Transpiration, Photosynthesis and Respiration
    • Plant Parts -Stems, Leaves, Roots, Buds,Flowers and fruits
    • What happens as Tissue Matures
    • Types of Plant Tissue
    • Methods of Shoot Induction and Proliferation
    • Advantitious Roots
    • Terminology
  2. Plant Nutrients
    • Major Elements
    • Minor (Trace) Elements
    • Total Salts
    • How Plants Grow
    • Factors Affecting Nutrient Uptake
    • Nutrient Solution Preparation
    • Hydroponic Nutrients
    • Chelates
    • Growing Media for Tissue Culture
    • Water in Tissue Culture
    • Chemical Analysis
  3. The Laboratory
    • The Tissue Culture Laboratory
    • Preparation Area
    • Transfer Chamber
    • Culture Growing Area
    • Siting a New Lab
    • Equipment Requirements for a Lab
    • Chemicals
  4. Micropropagation Techniques
    • Stock Plants -selection, planting, management
    • Uses for Tissue Culture
    • Problems with Tissue Culture
    • Procedures
    • Explants
    • Sterilisation
    • Nutrient Media
    • Shoot Induction and Proliferation
    • Rooting and Planting Out
    • Stages in Plant Development
    • Treating Plant Tissue with Sterilants
  5. Plant Hormones
    • Chemical Growth Modification
    • Principles of Using Plant Hormones
    • Auxins, Cytokinins, Gibberellins, Abscisic acid and Ethylene.
    • Other Chemical Treatments
  6. The Tissue Culture Environment
    • Media Types -Filter Bridge, Agar, Liquid
    • Nutrient Media Composition
    • Cleanlines
    • Light and Temperature
    • Hormones
    • Artificial Light
    • Water Quality
    • Water Treatgments
    • Carbon Dioxide Effects
    • Greenhouses
    • Diagnosis of Plant Disorders
  7. Commercial Applications
    • Understanding Genetics and Plant Breeding
    • Biotechnology
    • Cell Fusions
    • Overcoming Pollination Incompatibility
    • Pollination Biology
  8. Taking Plants out of Culture
    • Hardening off Plants
    • Growing Rooms or Chambers
    • Rockwool Applications with Micropropagation
  9. Culture of Selected Species
    • Begonia
    • Cattleya
    • Cymbidium
    • Review of a range of other plants

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Explain the nature of plant growth processes, in the tissue culture environment.
  • Determine growing media to use for tissue culture.
  • Specify appropriate micropropagation procedures for different purposes.
  • Explain the management of environmental control equipment used in tissue culture.
  • Design a layout for a commercial tissue culture facility.
  • Determine appropriate commercial applications for tissue culture.

What You Will Do

  • You will learn a wide variety of things, through a combination of reading, interacting with tutors, undertaking research and practical tasks, and watching videos. Here are just some of the things you will be doing:
  • Describe botanical terms which may be relevant to tissue culture.
  • Explain different physiological processes which are relevant to tissue culture, including:
    • Photosynthesis
    • Transpiration
    • Respiration.
  • Differentiate between different types of plant tissue, including:
    • Collenchyma
    • Sclerenchyma
    • Parenchyma
    • Xylem
    • Phloem
    • Meristem.
  • Describe the stages of plant growth during tissue culture of a specified plant.
  • Explain the roles of the major and minor nutrients in tissue culture.
  • Explain how five different specified plant hormones can be used in tissue culturing plants.
  • Explain the functions of different types of components of media, including:
    • Nutrients
    • Carbohydrates
    • Vitamins
    • Growth regulators
    • Amino acids
    • Antibiotics.
  • Differentiate between appropriate applications for both liquid and solid media.
  • Compare two different specified formulae for tissue culturing, formulated for two different plant genera.
  • Explain fifteen different terms relevant to micropropagation procedures, including:
    • abscission
    • aseptic
    • autoclave
    • axenic
    • bridge
    • in vitro
    • deionize
    • differentiate
    • flaming
    • hardening off
    • indexing
    • pipette
    • precipitate
    • transfer
    • vitrification.
  • Describe different methods of shoot proliferation used in tissue culture.
  • Explain a method of sterilisation for plant tissue in an operation observed by you.
  • Distinguish between tissue culture operations which use different plant parts, including:
    • Meristem
    • Shoot tip
    • Organ
    • Cell.
  • Describe the steps in producing a plant by tissue culture, observed by you in a commercial facility.
  • Explain how to remove a specified plant from tissue culture, into open culture.
  • Compile a resource file of twenty different suppliers of environmental control equipment.
  • Determine guidelines for establishing an appropriate, controlled environment, for growing a tissue culture.
  • Describe two different greenhouse management methods for acclimatising tissue cultured plants.
  • Explain how knowledge of short-day, long-day and day-neutral plants is relevant to tissue culture.
  • Explain methods of ensuring water used in tissue culture is pure and sterile.
  • Determine the equipment needed to set up a tissue culture laboratory.
  • Describe the functions of the equipment listed.
  • Develop on-going maintenance guidelines for a tissue culture facility which has the range of equipment listed.
  • Determine consumable materials required for the day-to-day operation of a specified tissue culture facility.
  • Determine the minimum skills needed to set up a tissue culture laboratory.
  • Write a job specification for a tissue culture technician, which identifies skills needed in that job.
  • Draw a floor plan to scale, for a workable tissue culture laboratory, designed for a specified purpose.
  • Describe commercial micropropagation methods for three different plant genera.
  • Distinguish between the unique requirements for successful micropropagation of six different specified genera.
  • Analyse, from research, the use of tissue culture for plant breeding.
  • Determine criteria for assessing the commercial viability of using tissue culture for propagating a given plant.
  • Determine the number of plants of a specified plant variety which would need to be cultured, in order to make tissue culturing of that plant commercially viable.
  • Assess the commercial viability of a specified tissue culture enterprise.

Why Propagate by Tissue Culture?

 
Because it can allow you to multiply plants rapidly in a very small place. One plant can be turned into many thousands of plants quickly; and if you have a new cultivar; this may mean that you can get it into the market place in less than a year. If traditional propagating techniques were used, the new cultivar may have required many years of propagating before a sufficient number of new plants were available to make a new product launch viable.
 
If you cannot get enough cuttings, tissue culture may be the answer.
 
 
What is the down side of Tissue Culture?
You need more technical expertise; a "hospital" clean environment; and sophisticated equipmewnt to carry out tissue culture.
 
Plants need to be hardened off slowly under high shade and high humidity (misting) conditions then gradually eased out into normal conditions.

Even after planting out or potting up a tissue cultured plant, you can sometimes get::

  • abnormal or no root growth
  • plants may be prone to dry out quickly
  • reduced photosynthetic activity of the propagation was done in a sugar enriched environment
  • sometimes there  is an induced dormancy

Only a small proportion of plant species can be cultured well enough to be effectively propagated.  The time and expense in developing the required technology may not be worthwhile for minor species. Even when it has been developed scientifically for a particular species, it is often not taken up commercially.

Compared with a conventional propagating bench, a tissue culture laboratory requires a large capital investment with correspondingly higher running costs. Labour is the largest single item of expenditure.

Despite the negatives, tissue culture is a significant and important technique that is widely used in the nursery industry. For the right situation, and the right plants; it is sometimes the best way to grow new plants.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Dr. Lynette Morgan

Broad expertise in horticulture and crop production. She travels widely as a partner in Suntec Horticultural Consultants, and has clients in central America, the USA, Caribbean, South East Asia, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.

Marie Beermann

Marie has more than 10 years experience in horticulture and education in both Australia and Germany. Marie's qualifications include B. Sc., M. Sc. Hort., Dip. Bus., Cert. Ldscp.

John Mason (Horticulturist)

Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant.
Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK.
He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world.





Tutors

Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Jacinda Cole

B.Sc., Psych.Cert., M. Psych. Cert.Garden Design, MACA

Jacinda has expertise in psychology and horticulture. She holds a BSc (hons) in Psychology and a Masters in Psychology (Clinical) and also trained in psychoanalytic psychotherapy at the London Centre for Psychotherapy. In horticulture she has a Certificate in Garden Design and ran her own landscaping and garden design business for a number of years. Jacinda also has many years experience in course development and educational writing.

Parita Shah

M.Sc Horticulture, B.Sc Horticulture, Cert in Greenhouse management

Parita has a Masters Degree in Horticulture specializing in Plantation, Spices, Medicinal and Aromatic crops and Organic farming. She has worked as a freelance consultant, and in an Avocado nursery in NSW as grafting and preparing avocado clones.

Timothy Walker

B.A.(Botany), RHS.M. Hort., Post.Grad.Dip.Ed.

Timothy is a Botanist, Horticulturist and Gardener. He is an Author, and also a lecturer at Somerville College, Oxford. After training at a number of gardens including Windsor Great Park and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Timothy commenced work at Oxford Botanic Gardens in 1986. Appointed as "Horti Praefectus" (Superintendent/Director) there in 1988, he held that position until 2014. Under Timothy's watch, the garden won four gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show, and developed 67 acres of MG5 wild flower meadow at the Harcourt Arboretum; a UK threatened habitat. Timothy remains an active practical gardener as well as a highly respected international academic in the fields of horticulture and plant botany.

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