Using Tissue Culture to Preserve and Create New Rare Plants
1 Jun 2020

Using Tissue Culture to Preserve and Create New Rare Plants

Jessica Rosslee

Table of Contents
Tissue culture is not only an effective propagation method, but it is also beginning to play an important role in biodiversity. Rare and endangered plants can, thanks to tissue culture, begin to find some reprieve in a world where civilization seems to continually encroach on their natural environment.


Aside from reducing species extinction, tissue culture is being used by plant curators around the world with other specialized products to encourage the growth of many rare and difficult to find plants.

This couldn’t make us any happier, knowing that in some way, Plant Cell Technology is creating new possibilities for people to take their love of plants into their own hands. By using tissue culture techniques, the propagation of rare and notoriously difficult to grow plant species can be made more possible (and potentially more successful).

Biodiversity: Why is it Relevant?

Biodiversity is an important part of the earth’s climate. When you take a moment to witness the vast diversity of the natural world, from the array of plant species to the intriguing microorganisms, animals, and insects living in all pockets of the earth; you are witnessing biodiversity at its core. This vast array of variation is what biodiversity means; it is both the amount of variation and the measurement of an ecosystem’s health.

How Can Tissue Culture Help Biodiversity?

Through the use of tissue culture, plant breeders can take advantage of plant biotechnology to encourage genetic variability, improved yields, and overall health of planted materials. There are a variety of micropropagation in vitro techniques, strategies, and methods that, if used correctly, can increase overall crop health and allow the breeder to cultivate higher numbers of plants compared to traditional propagation yields.

  • Through specific techniques, breeders have more sought after germplasms
  • Genetic transfer allows the incorporation of desirable traits
  • Increased possibility for genetic variation
  • Potential for improved crops, thanks to the somaclonal variations
  • Overall yield will be increased due to the removal of damaging pathogens

With the ever-increasing advances of civilization, there is a reduction in natural habitat for some plant species, resulting in ecological degradation and loss of biodiversity.

While certain advancements are paramount for society’s success, there is a fine line between progression and regression. When an economic activity is ecologically destructive, it is rendered obsolete. This realization is felt with increasing tremors across the globe, where natural resources and habitats have been severely impacted. From palm oil harvesting to banana cultivations, tissue culture is reducing the destruction brought on by deforestation and mass planting, and has the potential to do more.

Species that are essential to a fragile ecosystem can be grown in a controlled environment, free from airborne microbial contamination before being reintroduced once they have reached the right maturity. Thousands of endangered plants can be produced using just a few cells from an original plant specimen carrying the desirable genetic profile.

We can give biodiversity a fighting chance by using sustainable and therefore, more efficient, resource management and conservation. Tissue culture is one way to support sustainable cultivation. Not only can tissue culture techniques offer a more sustainable and biodiversity-friendly option, but they can also be used as a tool to encourage rare and endangered species to flourish.

We are seeing countries around the world embracing tissue culture for ornamental plant propagation as well as export produce propagation. Tissue culture can be used in the agriculture field to increase the efficiency of large scale crops and reduce the environmental impact of the plundering of natural resources. Small amounts of tissue from one healthy plant can be used to propagate thousands of valuable plants, making tissue culture an essential pillar for the agriculture industry’s future.

Rare and Endangered Plants

This is a topic many plant gurus and growers get excited about. Whether you are curious about a species or just want to see how far you can flex your green thumb, tissue culture can help you make the most of your rare plant passion.

Orchids and Venus Flytraps are some of the chief species that tissue culture enthusiasts are growing. The notoriously tricky Carnivorous plant species has recently been flourishing in their tissue culture media in our very own laboratory with plant preservative mixture (PPM™), agar, and gallam gum. You can find out more about these successful cultures and the products we used here.

One of the most famous carnivorous plants is the exotic and elusive Venus Fly Trap. This particular flytrap is a favorite amongst fundis, and as such, overcollection has resulted in dwindling numbers and its current classification as a vulnerable plant. Tissue culture is a successful way to propagate the flytrap and bring it back from the edge of extinction.

Using PPM™ for rare and difficult plant specimens can be hugely beneficial. Not only can you eliminate any existing contamination, but you can also prevent future contaminations from taking root in your cultures.

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