The Appeal of Plant Tissue Culturing
For many who grow cannabis in a commercial setting, cloning is the go-to technique for plant propagation. Cloning consists of designating mother plants—plants that will be isolated and grown with the sole purpose of providing plant cuttings—which will be grown in a vegetative state, and eventually, become flowering plants. While cloning is an effective method of plant propagation, there are numerous drawbacks. Plant tissue culturing, on the other hand, is a method of plant propagation that is becoming the go-to method in the agricultural community.
Tissue culturing is a method of plant propagation that removes the guesswork. Plant tissue culturing utilizes a sterile environment to ensure that, if done correctly, resulting plants are pest and pathogen free. The plant starts off as a leaf cutting placed into a petri dish. Plant hormones are then used to induce cell division. Plants are able to differentiate between different cell types, so they are able to form their own stem, root and leaf cells. As the cells divide, the plant continues to grow. As it grows, you can split the culture into another petri dish, which allows both cultures to continue growing.
With plant tissue culturing, the only thing that could set back a crop is a contaminated environment. Sterile lab conditions are essential. Once that condition is met and the cultures are given growth hormones, they are basically in charge of their own healthy growth.
The process requires regular maintenance and a sterile lab environment, but it doesn’t have to be done within your facility. There are numerous companies that provide plant tissue culturing services. There are also companies that can provide the tools necessary for a successful lab as well as guidance on the required steps if you’d rather do the tissue culturing in house. There are also workshops available for personal growers on how to do tissue culturing at home, including how to repurpose common items for the task.
One of the benefits of plant tissue culturing is that genetic drift does not occur—the degeneration of the genetic line. Another pro is that tissue culturing takes up significantly less space than cloning and allows genetics to be kept and maintained on a small scale, which results in more space for the genetics that are regularly flowered. There is also a higher likelihood of the resulting plants being pest and pathogen free, whereas clones are exposed to numerous vectors for such issues.
Cloning is a labor-intensive task and a high risk for loss exists if environmental systems aren’t perfected. Quite a lot of time and effort are required to take clone cuttings, clean up the cuts and plug them. The mother plants must also be regularly maintained to ensure that cuts are available. But mother plants should be cycled through occasionally and can often be the best hosts for pests or pathogens as they’re not rotated into flowering like vegetative plants. With plant tissue culturing, the only thing that could set back a crop is a contaminated environment. Sterile lab conditions are essential. Once that condition is met and the cultures are given growth hormones, they are basically in charge of their own healthy growth.
The bottom line is that tissue culturing is already an industry standard for numerous agricultural products, including blueberries and strawberries. There are some recreational and medicinal cannabis producers that are beginning to utilize this process, in lieu of cloning. It is a more scientific method of plant propagation, whereas with cloning the loss percentages can fluctuate unpredictably. Overall, plant tissue culturing could be a solution to genetic drift, pests and pathogen resistance as well as an aid in maximizing your growing space as you branch further into this cannabis market.