6 plant tissue culture media for beginners

Do you know that there are standard tissue culture media recipes available for beginners?

The right combination of culture media components is important for tissue culture cells to grow. However, for many of us, it might be difficult to prepare our own recipes. Also, not everyone is aware of different kinds of standard media that actually exist.

When I did my first plant tissue culture experiment years ago, I did not know about the available media mixes either. I had to prepare MS media from scratch! And while that is a decent way to start the tissue culture process, however, as a novice it would have been better for me to begin with pre-mixed media recipes.

But hey! You do not have to experience the same disappointment of wrong measurements for different ingredients or simply an unsuccessful tissue culture attempt! We got you covered here.

Let us first discuss the basics related to culture media!


Even though we have different kinds of media recipes available, there is no one perfect recipe for all plants. Each plant species and sometimes even varieties differ from each other. Therefore, you need to prepare media that caters to the nutrient requirements of the plant of your choice.

Multiple trials and errors are like part and parcel in the process of establishing successful plant tissue cultures. Hence, it is always a good idea to tweak media recipes with one or more adjustments.

You can try different kinds of auxins and cytokinins, as well as trying different ratios. You can play around with a range of sucrose concentrations and so on. The possibilities are endless with different ingredients for a tissue culture media! This leads to an interesting discussion about the design of tissue culture experiments and culture media, but we shall keep that for another article.

Another interesting fact for you is that for certain plants like orchids, gerbera, etc., there are accurate media recipes available in the market. And you can easily buy them with the necessary adjustments. Isn’t that great?

By the way, if you want to know more about the different ingredients of plant tissue culture media, then maybe this article on “8 components of tissue culture media” will serve that purpose.

But for now, let me talk briefly about different commonly available tissue culture media recipes.

Murashige and Skoog medium (MS)

This is by far the most commonly used media and a 'so-called' standard tissue culture media. It was first developed by two brilliant scientists, Murashige and Skoog when they were trying to grow tobacco plants. Let us not go into depth of its history, but this discovery made plant tissue culture quite convenient.

One good thing about this recipe is that you can use it for most crops. Of course you can make some changes in the recipe of MS medium for the plant you like to grow in tissue culture.  

You can also use it in different strengths. This means that you can for example, use half of all the ingredients of this medium and call it half strength MS medium.


For anthurium tissue culture, MS media is used along with adjusting the ratio of nitrate and ammonium ions to 66:34!

Linsmaier and Skoog medium (LS)

This media recipe is an improvised version of MS media. Linsmaier and Skoog were trying to provide organic nutrients to tobacco cultures and as a result added a twist in the vitamin composition. Nowadays, we use this media primarily for developing plant organs, callus culture, cell suspension and micropropagation.

According to them, the two important vitamins essential for plant growth are 'thiamine' and 'inositol'. They concluded that when thiamine is present in low concentration, the plant growth decreases, and cell cultures can even die.

Gamborg medium (B5)

This media is a mixture of inorganic nutrients, vitamins, and carbohydrates. O.L. Gamborg developed this while working with soybean callus and cell suspension cultures. For improving soybean root callus formation, he increased the nitrate concentration with a lower ammonium concentration for better cell growth.

Nitsch and Nitsch medium (NN)

This media recipe is useful for anther cultures. J.P. Nitsch developed it while working on the anther cultures of tobacco. This media promotes cell multiplication in anther culture as it has high concentration of thiamine, biotin, and folic acid.

We will soon talk about different types of plant tissue culture!

White’s Medium

While working on tomato, P.R. White got the idea of increasing magnesium in the recipe which resulted in successful root culture. You can use this media for shoot culture and callus culture.  

Quoirin & Lepoivre medium (QL)

This is a woody plant media. If you are planning to culture plants like peach, apple, almond and so on, this media is your friend. This media does not resemble MS media in many ways. Quoirin and Lepoivre reduced ammonium, increased calcium and even eliminated chlorine in this recipe.

These are the commonly available plant tissue culture media recipes for beginners to practice or work in a laboratory. You can also start working with different media recipes for the same plant so as to figure out what works best for your chosen plant species.

We hope this article is useful for many of you. There will be more articles explaining different aspects of plant tissue culture. So keep checking this space!

By Nancy Bhatia | 18-May-2021


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murashige_and_Skoog_medium
  2. https://himedialabs.com/TD/PT096G.pdf
  3. https://www.duchefa-biochemie.com/product/details/number/Q0250
  4. Kyte, Kleyn, et al (2013) Plants from test tubes: An introduction to micropropagation. Timber press, Inc.
  5. Bhojwani, S.S., & Dantu, P.K. (2013). Plant Tissue Culture: An Introductory Text. Springer India
  6. Robert H. Smith (2013). Plant Tissue Culture- Techniques and Experiments. Elsevier Inc.