Plant tissue culture is a way of using harvested plant tissue in order to grow genetically identical plants, according to the National Health Museum. In some cases, these cells are genetically altered so scientists can experiment with genetically altered plants. However, most gardeners are also able to propagate plants this way using the same materials that are found in a hydroponics kit.
The nutrient mediums contain all of the nutrients that the plant will need in order to grow, which includes all of the primary nutrients and micronutrients, according to Oxford University Press. Sugar, in the form of sucrose, also often has to be supplied in the solution because the plant cell will not yet have the ability to engage in photosynthesis.
Plant tissue culture involves taking plant cells from the stem tip, node, meristem or embryo and placing the cell in a nutrient solution so a genetically identical plant can be grown, according to the National Health Museum. The plant part that is used in the growing medium is called an explant and usually comes from the roots or leaves of the plant, according to Oxford University Press.
In many cases, the protoplast of the plant is separated using mechanical isolation or enzyme isolation. For home gardeners, the enzyme isolation is likely easier. A simple salt solution is used to degrade the cell walls, releasing the protoplasts, according to Oxford University Press. When using the roots, usually the root tip needs to be used because only the root tip is able to create different kinds of cells. With leaves, the shoot tips need to be used, since they have the cells needed to create different kinds of cells.
The area in which the plant culture is extracted and where the plant culture is created must be sterile in order to protect the vulnerable plant cell from mold, bacteria and other contaminants, according to the National Health Museum.
Some species of plants are easier to propagate using a plant culture, while other species of plant cannot be propagated at all, according to the National Health Museum.
How the plant grows is largely determined by the plant culture, since plants have a strong ability to adapt to their environment and change their physiology, according to Oxford University Press. Plants can often engage in regeneration in almost any area of the plant.
The growth of the plant in the nutrient solution can often be controlled by using natural or synthetic growth regulators, according to Oxford University Press. These growth regulators tell the plant cells when to create new cells and also tell the cells when to elongate.