Yo, what’s good? My name is Dan and I’m here to talk to you about plant tissue culture, a dope technique that horticulturalists use to grow and maintain plant cells. This method allows them to produce genetically identical clones on a massive scale, which is straight-up lit. It’s been popular in agriculture for a hot minute, but it’s only just starting to make its way into the cannabis industry.
Now, you might think that tissue culture is only suitable for large-scale cannabis grows, but that’s not entirely true. It’s possible to apply this technique to smaller operations too. So, if you’re curious about trying something new for your next grow, keep reading.
What Is Plant Tissue Culture?
Back in the day, growing plants using tissue cultures was already poppin’ in the 1950s and 60s. It provided a fresh way to cultivate species such as orchids that are challenging to grow from seed. By the 1990s, plant tissue culture had become widespread throughout the agricultural sector. Its primary attraction was allowing farmers to grow healthy crops on a larger scale than ever before.
Here’s how it works: you take a small tissue sample from a mature plant under sterile conditions. This sample, which can be just a few cells, then grows on a culture medium. This culture medium is usually an agar gel that contains a variety of nutrients, hormones, sugar, and other ingredients.
Because many plant cells possess the ability to regenerate into an entire plant, tissue culture is a highly efficient growing technique. Some people also refer to the process as ‘micropropagation.’
Plant tissue cultures have a broad range of educational and commercial applications. These include large scale propagation, production of genetically-modified plants, providing educational models of plant physiology, preserving endangered species, extraction and engineering of chemicals. It’s versatile as hell.
Tissue Culture in Cannabis Growing
In the past, cannabis growers had to rely on seeds which had their own set of problems. Firstly, seeds are genetically unstable which means that one batch of seeds could produce plants with different characteristics. Secondly, unless you purchase feminized seeds, there is a risk that 50% of your plants will be male which is no bueno. Male plants decrease production of usable flower and could pollinate the females producing seeds and reducing potency. Finally, seeds take time to germinate which also means waiting longer until your crops are ripe and ready to harvest.
In recent years, experienced growers have begun using cuttings rather than seeds which increase genetic stability and reduce the possibility of male plants ruining your crop while saving time. The downside of taking cuttings is that they are vulnerable to infection unless all of your equipment is completely sterile.
That’s where plant tissue cultures come in clutch. There are several distinct advantages of using tissue cultures to grow cannabis rather than seeds or cuttings:
1) Genetic stability allows cultivators to clone plants with desirable traits.
2) Tiny tissue samples are necessary to create identical clones.
3) Clones are more consistent and resistant to disease than traditional cuttings.
4) Their small size allows the storage of multiple clones in minimal space.
5) It is possible to store genetic material for long periods which is ideal for breeders.
However, using tissue cultures to grow cannabis also has its fair share of difficulties:
1) A sterile environment is necessary.
2) Growers may need specialized equipment for cloning and storage.
3) Clones mature more slowly than traditional cuttings.
Tissue culture involves growing samples in a micropropagation media that includes the exact nutrients that the plant needs. The ideal composition of the media is one of the major considerations in cannabis tissue culture, and it’ll depend on the features of the plant starting material. You also need to consider the time required to create your cannabis plant tissue culture, which can be as fast as five-to-six weeks or as long as up to a year, depending on the size of the starting material.
When it comes to equipment, you’ll need a laminar flow hood, an autoclave, a stereo microscope, an orbital shaker, a milligram scale, a magnetic stirrer, and a pH meter. When it comes to media culture ingredients, Murashige & Skoog (MS) Basal Salts Mixture will form the basis of most growth media. You may also choose to add other ingredients such as plant hormones to encourage shoot formation or rooting.
The four main stages of micropropagation include surface sterilization and aseptic initiation; shoot proliferation and multiplication; rooting or pre-plant stage; and acclimatization and hardening. Once your tissue has been successfully propagated, you’ll need to slowly introduce it to different environmental conditions so that it can adjust before transplanting it into its final growing vessel.
While there are potential challenges with cannabis tissue culture – such as vitrification (hyperhydricity) – if you take the time to ensure you provide your plant tissue with a sterile environment and proper care, you should be able to successfully produce healthy clones. So keep these points in mind if you’re considering getting into cannabis tissue culture – it could potentially help you grow more plants faster and easier!
Why Use Tissue Cultures to Grow Cannabis?
As you can see, using tissue cultures to grow cannabis is highly efficient but it requires sterility and specialist equipment so it may be more suitable for large-scale commercial grows. However, adventurous home-growers could also try their hand at this technique and achieve a successful harvest.
By trying this growing method out, you’ll have a unique opportunity to preserve the genetics of your precious plants. If you have a specimen that has an especially impressive terpene profile or yields larger-than-average buds, you could essentially immortalize these plants using tissue culture samples.
This method is especially beneficial for anyone interested in breeding cannabis as the small size of the cultures makes it easier to store and keep track of potential combinations. So, if you’re an experienced grower and you’re looking for a new challenge, why not give tissue culture a try? It could be the key to your next successful crop!