Types of plant tissue culture

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Types of plant tissue culture
Plant tissue cultures played an important role in developing corn as a fuel. (Don Farrall/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Plant tissue cultures are the building blocks for modern genetic manipulation of the plants which contribute to the world's food and fuel supply. Science has developed several means of transforming plant cells using several different types of tissue cultures. Each tissue culture plays an important part in the development of new plant strains and helping science understand how plant cells regenerate and are assigned roles.


Callus plant tissue cultures are a jumble of unorganised plants cells that have yet to be assigned a specific cellular role. Callus plant tissue cultures fall into essentially two categories--compact and friable. As the name would imply, the cells of compact callus cultures are bunched tightly whereas friable callus cultures are loosely associated. These cells are developed in the dark as the presence of light encourages cell differentiation. According to the Oxford University Press, callus plant tissue cultures are very important to biotechnology as manipulation of these cells can help science develop means to transform plants and optimise growth.


A protoplast is a plant tissue culture with the plant cellular walls removed. The wall removal process makes these cells extremely fragile and therefore must be handled carefully to avoid further damage. The removal of the cell wall enables scientists to easily make modifications to the interior cell for the purpose of developing new plant strains or attempting to integrate genetic material that is resistant to certain toxins, insects or bacteria.

Root Cultures

According to the Oxford University Press, root tissue cultures were one of the first plant tissues used in developing plant cultures. Plant roots can be grown virtually indefinitely as the cells aren't specifically assigned. While these cells were one of the first steps in the plant culture process, they are not widely used in modern cell transformation studies.

Meristem and Shoot Tip Cultures

These cultures are generated through literal cutting of plant shoots and stems for the purposes of cloning existing plants. This process is useful to scientists in developing genetically modified plant tissues. Shoot tip and meristem cultures provide a more cost effective means of reproducing genetically modified plants as opposed to going through the lengthy and expensive process of manipulating the plant at the cellular level.

Microspore Cultures

Plant microspore cultures are derived from pollen. These tissues can be used to create a plant from the cellular ground floor on up. This may be done in two methods--through natural development of the pollen embryo or through liquid medium culturing. The first method does take considerably more time than the second although culturing the microspore in a liquid medium has a lower rate of efficiency.

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