8 ways plant tissue culture generates profit

How to generate profit with plant tissue culture

Tissue culture is one impressive way to produce large numbers of required plants in a relatively short duration. These artificially developed plants are extremely useful because of uniformity and their true-to-type characteristics. Different businesses can profit from plant tissue culture in innovative ways.

Plant tissue culture research has taken a big leap since its first discovery in 1898. Nowadays, its knowledge is so readily available that anyone with genuine interest can do it. In the long run, it can generate enormous financial returns. It also heavily reduces labor requirement and time. Additionally, it ensures to have production of difficult plants all year round with high quality.

If you are new to the world of plant tissue culture or just curious about it, then do consider reading our post on “Plant tissue culture: an overview”.

And for curious people who want to know why tissue culture is famous globally? Why they should even consider investing in the tissue culture industry? This article is for you!

Let’s discuss some of the possible applications of plant tissue culture which can prove to be profitable for your business:

Rapid clonal propagation/micropropagation

A large number of identical plants can be generated in a much shorter time frame using different kinds of tissue culture methods. This quantity of plants can then further be under use by different industries for production and processing. It can also be exported to different parts of the worlds for producing medicinal components, for research purposes and so on.

One of our favorite fruits, banana, is produced in large quantities using micropropagation! It is a seedless fruit. These fruits have been growing in most parts of the world using tissue cultured disease-free banana plants!

Disease elimination

There are cases where plants produced from seeds show certain diseases transferred from the seeds. Tissue culture procedures can avoid such outcomes. For example, using meristem cells/tissues as explants is an effective method to eliminate viruses (known as internal contamination). This way, a producer can ensure a higher yield potential of his crop with higher quality. It can also help industries that rely heavily on disease susceptible plants. Tissue culture is useful as it produces disease-free plantlets in a relatively short time duration.

Potatoes play an important role economically in the global agricultural industry. If grown in a traditional manner it can easily become a carrier of different diseases and pests, and can ruin the whole field of a farmer. This would lead to huge losses. Tissue culture has been under successful use for this crop to produce identical plants that are disease-free and with the right crop properties.

Anther culture to produce haploid plants

The anther (the pollen bearing part of stamen) is present in the male reproductive part of flower and contains pollen. These pollen represent the desirable set of genes and also the desirable characteristics. Haploid plants are viable plants that originated from these pollen using tissue culture. In an easy language: these plants are generated using only one parent.

These plants did not have to undergo fertilization (crossing of an ovule and a pollen), thus serving a major advantage in plant breeding research. These plants achieve a normal set of chromosomes (genetics) like a traditionally fertilised plant with the help of a process called chromosome doubling. More on that in upcoming articles!

This entire plant breeding program reduces the breeding cycle by 2 – 4 years when compared with conventional breeding cycles. It also allows easy selection of phenotypic characteristics for in depth breeding research.

Anther culture has been successful for breeding and commercial use for japonica rice and potatoes.

Protoplast isolation for hybrid production

This is an important application for developing new varieties by seed breeding industries. Tissue culture has been successful in plant breeding research in order to cross distantly related species and develop hybrids, such as in tomato. These distant species are otherwise very difficult to cross using traditional breeding and crossing approaches. This is done by isolating and fusing protoplast that forms a novel hybrid. Protoplast is a cell whose cell wall has been removed.

Embryo culture

Though there are different kinds of culture methods present, on the basis of explant under use, this method has been serving many crucial purposes comparatively. Embryo culture can significantly shorten breeding cycles by several years.

For instance, research or industrial use of horticultural plants (such as coffee and cassava) experience delay due to long dormancy periods. Dormancy is a state in which the plant or plant part exhibit little or no growth. Using this method, several causes of dormancy will be easy to deal with, thus reducing the life cycle for the plant under consideration, and hence more production.

Propagation of rare plants

There are several plant species that are rare and are hard to grow in different environmental and geographical conditions. However, some of these are in great demand due to their use in pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food industries.

Tissue culture has been one of those successful methods that led to large scale production of such plants, fulfilling the industrial demand within a short duration of time.

DID YOU KNOW?

Macapuno coconuts, a rare and expensive coconuts that develop coconut meat instead of coconut juice, is sucessfully propagated using plant tissue culture.

Production of industrial phytochemicals

The conventional approach of extraction of industrial phytochemicals from plants has many downsides to it. Under these approaches, there is always a risk of crop failures due to natural hazards. Also, there are chances of crop experiencing damage due to insects, pests, climate and so on. Hence, leading to poor quality of crucial substances with irregular supply. However, with the help of plant tissue culture, these risks can be taken care of.

A constant supply of phytochemicals, such as taxol (an anticancerous drug) with high quality is possible regardless of geographical or climatic constraints. Moreover, extraction of products from in vitro tissues is much simpler than the complex in vivo tissues. Thus, making the production of phytochemicals in large quantities possible which is essential for several large industries.

New forests

The demand for timber, pulp, paper and wood derivatives has led to a large reduction in the forest area globally. There is an urgent need of reforestation seedlings. Combined with the steadily growing demand for wood products, tissue culture has been of great support in making this all happen.

There is extensive research happening round the world to develop protocols for propagating superior forest trees, particularly conifers, in order to meet demand.

We hope these applications would have ignited interest in many of you. We are looking forward to delve deeper into the world of plant tissue culture with you all. Keep checking our space!

By Nancy Bhatia | 06-April-2021

References

  1. Bhojwani, S.S., & Dantu, P.K. (2013). Plant Tissue Culture: An Introductory Text. Springer India
  2. Kyte, Kleyn, et al (2013) Plants from test tubes: An introduction to micropropagation. Timber press, Inc.
  3. Sharma, V., & Alam, A. (2015). Plant Tissue Culture. I.K. International Publishing House Pvt. Ltd.