The Cost of Setting Up Your Own Tissue Culture Lab
8 Jul 2022

The Cost of Setting Up Your Own Tissue Culture Lab

Jessica Rosslee

Table of Contents

Tissue culture is increasing in popularity in both commercial and private sectors. Just a few years ago, the tissue culture technique was largely reserved for professional laboratories and large companies, while today, we see a diligent home grower able to enjoy the benefits of tissue culture propagation.

Setting up your own tissue culture lab at home can initially seem challenging, but with to proper planning and preparation (and diligence), you can be well on your way to propagating many cultures.

TC Laboratory Setup Cost

The cost of tissue culture is usually one subject that enthusiasts tend to shy away from. This is because tissue culture setups can be pricey.

Any laboratory that will be used for tissue culture will need several basic facilities. The following should be considered if you are setting up the culture lab:

  • Washing area (for general purposes)
  • Area to be used for aseptic transfer
  • Area specifically for the preparation of media, sterilization, and storage
  • Area for observation and data collection
  • Environmentally controlled culture room (or incubator)

How To Set Up Your Lab

DIY laboratories can be set up in a variety of ways, as long as some fundamental basics are in place. The first thing you will need is the proper space to set up your lab. This could be a dedicated room, sectioned off area of a room, or small surface area, depending on the amount of plants you wish to propagate and the space you have at your disposal.

And remember, the devil is in the details; patience and planning are essential aspects of successful tissue culture endeavors.

A note on your TC lab area:

You should ensure your DIY laboratory is not in a windy area or an area with much noise. Fungus spores and other contaminants can drift in with a draft, so make sure your tissue culture lab is set up in a sheltered and undisturbed area. Using PPM(™) can limit your risk of contamination and microbial growth.

Master Class Details



Along with a basic area, there will need to be several basic pieces of laboratory equipment. Below you will find a list of our essential equipment here at Plant Cell Technology. To help you factor them into your budget, we have included the price list for your convenience (prices are in USD):

All American pressure cooker x 2 $2040
GoWise pressure cooker $130
Grow tent x 3 $450
Fridge $100
Shelving unit x 3 $250
Lights x 24 $200
Table x 2 $80
Chair $40
Containers $220
Media $300
Extension cords $150
RO water filter $60
Totes $80
Alcohol $10
Denatured alcohol $20
Pipettes $50
Misc $200
Total $4380

It is recommended that you have equipment solely reserved for the use of culturing processes. Carting beakers and other equipment between shared locations, for example, the kitchen and the grow/lab area, can increase the risk of contamination. Having a wash area in your lab is an important feature that should not be overlooked.

Tips for Successful Home Based TC laboratories

Refrigeration and Storage:

Some of your materials will need to be kept for prolonged periods, so your lab should include a refrigerator or freezer. This is especially necessary for those of you that will be storing your tissue culture plants. Most tissue culture forums see community members asking whether or not a regular kitchen refrigerator can be used. The answer is yes, but it comes with an important ‘but.’ If the kitchen fridge is used, then extreme caution should be taken. The cultures and supplies will need to be kept free of any contaminants that your regular household fridge will naturally have.

If you are using a household appliance for refrigeration, one precaution to take is to clearly label all items and keep them as organized as possible. This is a preventative measure that will reduce excessive handling and risk of contamination. It goes without saying that the stored materials should be kept in a sealed container so that their environment remains uncontaminated.

Maintain a Meticulous Workspace:

Organizing your desk is essential for your workflow. And if you have a smooth workflow, you can avoid accidents. Even minor accidents can be detrimental to your cultures. All items that are on the desk should be neatly organized and accessible, and you should organize so that the flow hood sits at the proper working height as you sit at your desk.

Always keep disinfectant spray and paper towels within reach so that you can do immediate damage control should you have an accident. If you really want to have an ideal workspace, ensure that your disinfectant is on your less dominant side, and the items that you will insert in the hood is on your dominant side. Pick up your item, disinfect it with the other hand, and then place it into the hood. If this way doesn’t work for you, then create your own workflow that is simple, smooth, and efficient.

Ideally, your home TC lab will have a designated area for sterilizing explants or creating media. If you are short on space, you could do everything in one workspace, but you should be unwavering in your cleaning, maintaining of a sterile environment, and organizing of materials. 

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