5% Contamination Rate Reduced to Zero Percent: How Upper Canada Growers Did It Using PPM™
7 May 2024

5% Contamination Rate Reduced to Zero Percent: How Upper Canada Growers Did It Using PPM™

Anjali Singh, MS

As a content and community manager, I leverage my expertise in plant biotechnology, passion for tissue culture, and writing skills to create compelling articles, simplifying intricate scientific concepts, and address your inquiries. As a dedicated science communicator, I strive to spark curiosity and foster a love for science in my audience.

Anjali Singh, MS
Table of Contents


We tried several different brands of agar and the one from PCT was outperforming the rest in our laboratory.”—says Kash Behravan, Lab Manager at UCG


Upper Canada Growers is a family-owned and operated fruit tree nursery located in Southern Ontario. The company has a rich history of 232 years of farming fruits, ranging from apples, grapevines, peaches, plums, and more.

 “We specialize in producing fruit trees through tissue culture as a fruit nursery. Our crops range from apples, grapevines, peaches, plums, and more. Our lab has the capacity to produce 3.5 million trees per year.”—says Kash Behravan.

Upper Canada Growers sources the finest fruit trees for Canada. Partnering with global breeders and propagators, they utilize cutting-edge tissue culture techniques – the industry's cleanest and most reliable method. 

In collaboration with the University of Guelph, they've become Canada's leader in supplying these superior trees to farmers nationwide

Their fruit trees boast improved growth, yield, disease resistance, and of course, delicious fruit. By staying at the forefront of rootstock selection, varietal choice, and cultivation methods, Upper Canada Growers delivers the best possible fruit trees for Canadian orchards.

What drove this company to use tissue culture technology (mainly organ and meristem culture) is its benefit in producing clean and disease plant materials, which is challenging to obtain. They also discovered that this is what the market also demands, which kickstarted the company’s journey into tissue culture for producing clean and healthy fruit trees at a commercial scale. 

For 15 years, Upper Canada Growers relied on buying tissue culture plants.  Seeing a chance to speed things up, they built their own in-house lab over 5 years ago.  This smart move has paid off! Their team of plant-growing experts has produced a whopping 3 million plants. This also became possible due to the high-quality, tissue culture-grade, and effective chemicals.


Upper Canada Growers' journey with in-house tissue culture faces several significant issues, such as:

  • Antibiotic Resistance: Initially, antibiotics provided a short-term solution for bacterial contamination. However, this approach proved unsustainable due to the development of bacterial resistance over time. Additionally, the large-scale application of antibiotics became cost-prohibitive. Moreover, their efficacy was limited to bacterial contaminants, leaving the plants vulnerable to other forms of microbial infiltration.
  • Inability to Scale Production: Due to contamination issues, UCG wasn’t able to scale their production and grow their desired plant varieties. Additionally, the repeated experiments increased the overall cost associated with the process.


In search of a solution for their contamination problem, UCG heard about PPM™ from their colleagues and the field experts. They decided to give the product a try in their experiment, which changed their lab game! 


Upper Canada Growers implemented the Plant Protection Method (PPM™) throughout their diverse tissue culture plant production process. This integration of PPM™ not only boosted their overall production output but also reduced their contamination rate from 5% to 0%. 

Now, PPM™ has been an essential component of Upper Canada Growers' tissue culture process for the past three years.


Upper Canada Growers identified a significant source of contamination arising from lapses in aseptic technique during culture and plant preparation. This suggests the need for enhanced training protocols to ensure meticulous and consistent sterile practices among technicians. 

PPM™ allowed Upper Canada Growers to increase their production by controlling contaminants. All this without any negative impact on the growth of the plant varieties studied. In contrast to some alternative products, PPM™ did not hinder plant development. Notably, in the case of apple rootstocks, PPM™ even appeared to enhance their growth and overall health.

Final Marketing Perspective On PCT and PPM™

We use PPM™ and TC grade agar from Plant Cell Technology. They both have a very good quality and help our plants to grow nicely and contamination free. We are using the products for around 3 years.

We tried several different brands of agar and the one from PCT was outperforming the rest in our laboratory.—Kash concludes!