Practical Application of Propagation by Tissue or Meristem Culture

Suitable tissue, which has the capacity for continuous cell division, is removed from the parent plant. In most cases it is growth tissue from the stem or root tips. These meristems are disinfected so that they are free from fungi and bacteria, and are then transferred onto a sterile nutrient medium. The most important components of the nutrient solution are water, minerals, organic substances, as well as certain vitamins and plant hormones. By adding agar-agar (a colloidal substance extracted from red algae) the nutrient base is transformed into a gelatinous form so that the meristems are unable to drop to the bottom. The tissue parts now grow through cell division, resulting in a collection of nondifferen-tiated cells (callus tissue), called callus. These calli can, in turn, be cultivated further by transmitting them onto other nutrient media. If the nutrient solution contains a plant hormone which aids the formation of shoots, numerous very small plants will develop from these vegetatively reproduced single cells, which, after reaching a certain size, are transferred to another nutrient solution in order to enhance their root formation. Sometimes nutrient media are used which simultaneously trigger shoot and root growth. Once the little plants are big enough they are partitioned, either reapplied or removed from the petri dishes or test tubes and relocated from the sterile environment to the hot house where they continue to be cultivated until they are large enough to be sold. The biggest problems facing tissue culture are infections through microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi, which can quickly destroy the cultures.

Tissue culture is by no means used exclusively for rare species or species which are difficult to reproduce by conventional, costly methods. It is also used for stem plants which in turn can easily be propagated vegetatively through cuttings. Next to the initially mentioned general reasons in favor of propagation through tissue culture, producers also list a more bushy and compact habitus of meristem plants compared to conventional methods, which is why meristem plants can be better marketed. This reason does not immediately seem rational, the differences are, however, clearly visible when comparing

Tissue section of a Cryptocoryne with shoot.

Tissue section of a Cryptocoryne with shoot.

Agaragar For Aquarium Plants

plants from normal propagation with those obtained through meristem culture.

Even though there are still many nurseries in Europe in which propagation through tissue culture is not practiced, this form of vegetative multiplication will, in the future, have the best chances in the market. There is also the legitimate hope that especially decorative but presently rarely kept plants, for example, the cross Aponogeton x rigidifolius, can be made available to a larger circle of hobbyists. Even today the demand for aquarium plants is increasingly being met through the application of tissue culture.

Plant Tissue Culture
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Responses

  • maik
    What is practical application of cell division?
    6 years ago
  • colomba
    What plants are propagated by meristem cultiure?
    4 years ago

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