Top of the range high-tech equipment has been invested in order to create one of the largest, most successful micropropagation laboratories in the UK.
- You are here:
- Hargreaves Plants Ltd Home Page
- What is Micropropagation
What is Micropropagation
You may have worked in plant propagation your whole life but may have never had anything to do with micropropagation before, so let us explain the initial process, what the differences are and the beneficial gains of this process.
In a nut shell, micropropagation is the practice of rapidly multiplying stock plant material to produce a large number of progeny plant material using plant tissue culture methods. There are many beneficial differences between tissue culture and conventional methods including:
- 1000-100,000 clones can be produced in months from only one mother plant
- No Risk of Viruses
- Minimal losses
- Only monthly attention needed not daily
- A fraction of the space is required
- Guaranteed True to Type
- Stronger more vigorous plantlets
- Plants ready simultaneously instead of staggered
- Development speed can be controlled
- Uniformity End Product
- Isolated Pest Control (No Pests)
The Process ▼
Technique varies from plant to plant and so do results, but it is repeatedly proven that results are always more successful when plants are put through the micropropagation process.
Here is a simple generic diagram to display the basic method used to give you a basic understanding on how micropropagation works:
Starting by taking either the meristem/shoot tip/isolated node from the mother plant the material is then sterilized and initially placed into vitro. Once the material is deemed to be clean and suitable it is then transferred into a specially formulated recipe agar to encourage the shoot to multiply.
Depending on the culture the material is left between 4 to 8 weeks to multiply, and then using sterilised tools the plantlets are then separated and then placed into fresh media to encourage the multiplication process to start again. This method is repeated every 4 – 8 weeks as necessary until the required numbers are achieved but never should a plant go through more than 6 cycles so as to minimise the risk of mutations.
The multiplication rate achievable can range anywhere between x3 – x15 depending on the culture.
Let's Put This Into Perspective ▼
You have one strawberry mother plant, of which 10 tips have been initiated for this process in May, in June these have been deemed clean and suitable for transferring, 5 weeks later (July) these 10 plants have been multiplied and separated so there in now 60 plants with a multiplication rate of x6, 5 weeks later (Aug) the same process is repeated and you now have 360 plants, 5 weeks later (Sept) you have 2160, repeating the process 5 weeks on (Oct) you now have 12960, (Nov) 77760, then 5 weeks on (Dec) you could potentially reach 400,000 … so from just 10 plantlets, in 7 months, 400,000 strong healthy top quality plants have been produced ready for dispatch in January, perfect timing for strawberry season.
For the final transfer that creates the desired number of plants required, another special recipe is used to create the media to encourage the final figure of plants to produce roots (this is called stage 2; A rooted plant in agar). After another 6 – 8 weeks these plants would have grown healthy strong roots and a strong stance to be planted into compact compost modules.
Why Wouldn't You Use Micropropagation ▼
We advise this process is not cost effective for the production of small quantities and suggest if you wish to produce less than 1000 of any one variety then you are best to use conventional propagation methods, which is also a service we provide if you require assistance.
The only time we would advise to use tissue culture methods, is if conventional methods have failed or you require to bulk up your stock as the plant is in threat of survival, however, expect to pay a premium for this service as small numbers are not as cost effective as large scale commercial growth.