"IN VITRO CULTURE AND PLANT IMPROVEMENT"
Since the theme of my talk is "In vitro culture and plant improvement"
we would consider the following relevant areas in this context;
- Clonal propagation and production of disease free plants : The best example is the multiplication of a variety of horticultural plants (e.g., orchids, gerberas, ferns, roses, carnations, lilies etc), vegetables (tomato, carrot, celery and others), food crops (cassava, potato, sugarcane), fruits (banana, pineapple, apple, strawberry, cherries etc.), plantation crops (coconut, tea, cacao) and spices (clove, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric). The success has been relatively rapid with herbaceous crops, but the progress in perennial horticultural and plantation crops has been slow owing to the lack of basic genetic information, and their recalcitrance to regenerate in cultures.
Apical meristems, due to rapid cell division, are usually devoid of systemic microbes, especially viruses and viroids. Hence, meristem culture have been successfully used in carnation, chrysanthemum, papaya, banana and potato to obtain disease free propagules.
- Plant tissue culture techniques also allow isolation of variant cell lines and plants, microtuber production, the generation of somatic hybrids by protoplast fusion and the regeneration of genetically engineered plants from single transformed cells. In addition, the potential value of somaclonal and gametoclonal variation, haploid plant production, in-vitro fertilization, embryo rescue, and in-vitro germplasm conservation is now being increasingly recognized.
- The in-vitro production of " Shikonin" a secondary metabolite used in cosmetic industry in Japan, has opened up exciting possibilities. Production of essential oils, flavours and other metabolites from cell cultures and hairy roots has already been reported from mentha, lavander, rosemary etc. Recently, isolation of androgenic variants with high alkaloid content in Datura