Plant tissue culture broadly refers to the in vitro cultivation of plants, seeds and various parts of the plants (organs, embryos, tissues, single cells, protoplasts).
Plant tissue culture is one of the most rapidly growing areas of biotechnology because of its high potential to develop improved crops and ornamental plants. With the advances made in the tissue culture technology, it is now possible to regenerate species of any plant in the laboratory. To achieve the target of creating a new plant or a plant with desired characteristics, tissue culture is often coupled with recombinant DNA technology. The techniques of plant tissue culture have largely helped in the green revolution by improving the crop yield and quality.
The knowledge obtained from plant tissue cultures has contributed to our understanding of metabolism, growth, differentiation and morphogenesis of plant cells. Further, developments in tissue culture have helped to produce several pathogen-free plants, besides the synthesis of many biologically important compounds, including pharmaceuticals. Because of the wide range of applications, plant tissue culture attracts the attention of molecular biologists, plant breeders and industrialists.
Applications of Plant Tissue Cultures:
Plant tissue cultures are associated with a wide range of applications—the most important being the production of pharmaceutical, medicinal and other industrially important compounds. In addition, tissue cultures are useful for several other purposes listed below:
- To study the respiration and metabolism of plants.
- For the evaluation of organ functions in plants.
- To study the various plant diseases and work out methods-for their elimination.
- Single cell clones are useful for genetic, morphological and pathological studies.
- Embryonic cell suspensions can be used for large scale clonal propagation.
- Somatic embryos from cell suspensions can be stored for long term in germplasm banks.
- In the production of variant clones with new characteristics, a phenomenon referred to as somaclonal variations.
- Production of haploids (with a single set of chromosomes) for improving crops.
- Mutant cells can be selected from cultures and used for crop improvement.
- Immature embryos can be cultured in vitro to produce hybrids, a process referred to as embryo rescue.
Benefits of Plant Tissue Culture training/courses:
- Study plant tissue culture to enhance your current knowledge on plant formation, assist in the continued existence of vital species of plant life and increase your understanding of the structure of plants for personal or career enhancement.
- Achieve knowledge in the highly specialised field of plant tissue culture studies and micro-propagation of native and exotic plants to produce vigorous growth.
- This program will provides participants with the skills and knowledge to prepare tools, propagation materials and the workspace, use a range of tissue culture propagation techniques, understanding the appropriate growing environment, recording the propagation activities as well as researching plant material.
- Skills and knowledge gained in this course may lead to you to a career as: plant propagator, horticulture laboratory technician, botanist, plant nursery assistant/manager
- Students enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program in plant biotechnology primarily study the genetic structures and mechanisms of various plants. They learn how to use the genetic makeup of plants to engineer solutions to health and environmental issues. For example, they might learn how to genetically engineer plants so that they carry more nutrition or are more sustainable in the environment.
- Students enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program in this field study the basic concepts of botany, soil science, genetics, chemistry, microbiology, plant science and statistics.
Research facilities and food companies often hire plant biotechnologists at several levels. Some examples of entry-level careers in the field include:
- Plant biotechnology lab technician
- Biological engineer
- Plant and crop physiologist
- Plant pathologist
- Plant breeder
Students who graduate with a certificate in plant biotechnology can go on to work in several different positions in the fields of agriculture and food science.
Those seeking to work in plant biology can choose from careers like:
- A food science technician,
- Plant biochemist, or
- Agricultural manager.
They can work in many fields including:
- Industry, or
- Teaching positions.
Generally, all positions require a bachelor’s degree or advanced degree.
From pharmaceutics to food sciences, the field of plant studies has wide-spanning applications in terms of career options. Three considerations for a career in plant biology include
- Food science technician,
- Plant Biochemist,
- Agricultural manager.
- Food Science Technician
Since plants are used as food, some graduates venture into the food industry as food scientists, also known as food technologists. They work to improve the way that food is developed. Their focus might often be in areas such as the processing, packaging and preserving of food. They may also work to create new food products.
- Plant Biochemist
By studying the chemical makeup of plants, biochemists focus on biotechnology work in labs. They analyze the way plants grow, reproduce and metabolize when faced with various combinations of chemicals and compositions.
- Agricultural Manager
Students interested in agricultural management typically work on a farm or ranch. A bachelor’s degree is recommended to make a career in this field, through work experience and on-the-job training provide essential skills. Agricultural managers are concerned with the factors that affect crop growth and livestock management.
Most careers in plant biology require candidates to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, and many students pursue advanced degrees. For some careers in plant biology, work experience will be more useful for job advancement than higher level degrees.
Degree Requirements for Plant Biology Careers
For entry-level plant biology careers, obtaining a bachelor’s degree is likely sufficient for employment. For advanced-level careers (often related to research), a master’s or doctoral degree may be required. Many schools that provide education in plant biology offer both undergraduate and graduate degree options within their plant biology departments.
Bachelor of Science in Plant Biology
These four-year degree programs include the study of a variety of sciences related to plants, humans and the environment. Basic prerequisites often include advanced mathematics and chemistry.
Master of Science in Plant Biology
Master’s degree programs are typically two to three years in length and further a student’s plant sciences studies. Participants are often targeting careers in teaching at the postsecondary level. Having a bachelor’s degree in a related field of study is a common prerequisite for enrollment.
Ph.D. in Plant Biology
Students interested in careers involving research and academia typically utilize these degree programs. They vary from two to four years in length, with coursework that is often research-related.