What is – Micropropagation / plant tissue culture / in vitro plants?

  1. What is – Micropropagation / plant tissue culture / in vitro plants?

Al 3 of these phrases are used in the aquarium trade to describe the same thing.

  • Plants that have been multiplied in a laboratory,

  • under sterile conditions and

  • with specially formulated growth medium, optimised for each plant species

 

  1. Why is this worth the extra price?

Each hobbyist that buy these plants will do it for 1 or more of the following reasons:

  • Because these plants are guaranteed FREE of any SNAILS

  • Because these plants are guaranteed FREE of any ALGAE

  • Because these plants are guaranteed FREE of any other PESTS or

  • Because these plants are guaranteed FREE of any PESTICIDES

These 4 reasons can be GUARANTEED because of the process described below. None of these can survive the proses or if it survive the proses, they will destroy the plants really early in the proses. Making it impossible to get any of these in your plant cup

BUT there are other reasons hobbyists love to use these plants:

  • The growth medium in the cups give the plant 2 to 5 weeks extra boost after you planted them, giving them an edge over other emerged grown plants.

  • Because the plant is kept in a VERY high humidity environment, the transition from emersed to submerge is that much easier for the plant. IE the normal MASSIVE leaf die-off that can be experienced with pots are limited in cups.

  • Easy to transport.

  • Can stand a day or 3 before you need to plant them.

  • You get a lot more plants per cup than you get in a regular pot

 

  1. How does it work?

In practice this involve a load of work before you receive the end product/plant for your aquarium.

This is a short overview of the total proses (for those that are interested)

Phase 1

Receiving:

Getting healthy plants and placing them in Quarantine

Phase 2

Pre-cleaning:

Pre-soaking and disinfecting plants while in normal substrate/soil

Phase 3

Explant:

Disinfection plants through a process using multiple different disinfectants and finally in a LFH (laminar flow hood) to create an sterile explant.

LFH = a cabinet that supply cleaned air, thus eliminating bacteria and fungus in the air up to 99.9997%

 

From this point on, the plant is ALWAYS kept in a sterile environment. Any exposure to normal air or contamination of any sort will lead to the destruction of the plant.

 

Phase 4

Finding a protocol for multiplication:

Placing explants onto sterile growth medium and experimenting with protocols regarding different hormones, minerals and salts mixes and their strengths, to determine the optimum growth medium.

Phase 5

Maximising multiplication:

After Phase 4 identified a satisfactory protocol, the plants go into the MULTIPLICATION phase. Here the cups are opened and the plants are divided into new cups EVERY 4 weeks. If the protocol is good we can get between 6 and 15 new cups out of each cup each time.

Phase 6

Finding a protocol for rooting:

When the multiplication phase was done at least 3 times. A few of the plants are placed in new growth medium types with different hormones, minerals and salts to determine a new protocol specifically for ROOTING

Phase 7

Multiplication with EMPHASIS rooting:

When phase 6 produced a satisfactory protocol, rooting production begin.

Phase 8

TESTING:

Plants from phase 7 are planted in aquariums to identify any problems. This is not only our aquariums but we use volunteers to add them in their aquariums as well and the overall experiences must be good before plants move to the next phase. Should the test results not be satisfactory it is back to Phase 6 to find a new protocol.

Phase 9

Retail:

Only now the plants are made available to the distributors to end up in your aquarium.

All pictures are just for demonstrative purposes.