How to Protect your Plants from Contamination when Cloning
1 Jun 2020

How to Protect your Plants from Contamination when Cloning

Jessica Rosslee

Table of Contents

Protect Your Plants

Recovering from contamination is a nightmare, and requires some diligent attention and stringent regulation. So, what's the solution? Well, as cliche as it sounds, prevention is better than cure. But in order to avoid contaminations altogether, you are going to have to have a working knowledge of how contamination occurs when you are cloning your plants. This includes cross-contamination, preventing root diseases, microbial contamination, cleanliness, and hygiene.

Here at Plant Cell Tech, we have all the tools to provide the cleanest and purest clones, and we want to help you perform DIY cloning in your own grow room. Okay, let's take a look at how you can protect your plants from contamination when cloning.

We've said it before, and we'll say it again - maintain the strictest hygiene protocols because this will help you in preventing any type of contamination. If you slip up, you could end up having to clean your grow room in the middle of the grow cycle, which is not only painstaking and downright annoying, but it could mean an increased risk of damaged plants.

Observe the following when maintaining your grow:

    1. Secure your Growing/Cloning Space
      Make sure that no outside contaminants can reach your clones. Having a secure space means that it is sealed off from the external environment and is easy to clean and maintain this cleanliness.
    2. Sanitize the Area Before you Begin Cultivation
      Okay so now your grow area is sealed off from the outside environment, then what? You need to ensure that the space is sanitized. And not only the clone space, but also the entire operation and everything involved, including yourself and any equipment that you use.

    Here are some ways to ensure you don't unwittingly bring any contaminants into the grow area:

    • Keep a fresh set of clothing close by the clone area and change into this fresh set of clothes before you enter. Pests and other contaminants can attach themselves onto your skin or clothing, without you realizing, and this is how your clones can be exposed to pollutants.
    • Sterilize your tools and equipment each time before you use them. You can do this by rubbing alcohol or even hydrogen peroxide.
    • Use a quality PPM mixture that you can get from Plant Cell Tech in your chosen growing medium.

    The Grow Medium

    When it comes to your growing medium, soils have the highest chance of introducing pests or other contaminants to your clones. Hydroponic mediums are the safest option, while rockwool and clay pellets are also known as sterile mediums.

    A Word on Agar

    Agar, a microbial solid culturing media, is an excellent addition to your DIY tissue culture toolbox as it encourages healthy root growth and promotes a supreme clarity of plant culture media.

    Use PPM in Your Growing Medium

    PPM, plant preservative mixture, is a heat-stable preservative and broad spectrum biocide that can help to avoid and treat fungal and other contaminants. Antibiotics are commonly used; however, they are often ineffective against fungal growth and can also promote low level contamination. Furthermore, antibiotics are not sustainable, mainly because plants can develop resistant strains and become immune to antibiotics. The PPM ingredients and the way that PPM works with cell technology means that plants are highly unlikely to develop immunity to PPM. Furthermore, PPM's active ingredients inhibit multiple enzymes - which is critical in preventing plants from the formation of resistant mutants towards PPM™.

    Bacterial Contamination

    If performed correctly, plant tissue culture and cell culture are performed in aseptic conditions, and on paper, these aseptic conditions should eliminate any chance of contamination. But here's the thing, as we are all well aware of, life sometimes has other plans. Despite the strictest observation of aseptic conditions, contamination can occur.

    Because people do not know that much about PPM (yet), they often turn to antibiotics. However, antibiotics are not always the most effective way to treat contaminations. They are used to inhibit the growth of microbial growth, yet they are often ineffective against some types of contamination, including fungal and endogenous contamination.

    PPM, on the other hand, can be effective where antibiotics fail. PPM can treat both these types of contamination and is also heat resistant so that it can be successfully used in the autoclave during the preparation of media.

    Another way to deal with fungal contamination is to isolate the upper parts of the affected plants, and if shoots have already developed, then these shoots can be cut. Remember always to maintain aseptic conditions throughout the rescue operation. Once the parts have been isolated, transfer them to a new medium. It is important to note that this method will only be effective if sporulation has not yet begun, and the fungi are still in the juvenile stages of development. 

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