Education & Outreach
Bosela, Michael .
Development of Tissue Culture-Based 'Hydroponics' Protocols for Use in Teaching.
Hydroponics techniques have been widely used for plant science instruction both to demonstrate inorganic nutrient requirements and to document deficiency symptoms. However, hydroponics experiments can be difficult to set up and maintain. In case of true hydroponics (literally ‘water culture’), aeration, algal and bacterial growth control, and systems for nutrient turnover and replenishment, are all required. In addition specialized structures are needed to support the plants (floats, fitted lids, etc.). Modified hydroponics systems that employ nutrient-poor media, such as sand or Perlite, as a plant support are possible, but major time investments are required to maintain a regular watering regime and to prepare the large volumes (multiple batches) of nutrient solution that are required to supply the plants for the entire duration of an experiment, with at least six to eight weeks of run time generally being required for symptom development. In lieu of these difficulties, I have recently initiated experiments evaluating the utility of tissue cultures for hydroponic demonstration. Tissue cultures are cultures of plant parts (cells, tissues, or organs), or whole plants, that are grown under sterile conditions, on definite nutrient media, in an enclosed environment. Compared with more conventional hydroponics techniques, tissue culture-based hydroponics experiments are easier to maintain and may offer handling and viewing advantages, especially in relation to the observation of root growth defects. However, symptom development may be confounded by mineral nutrient contamination from the gelling agents, the small size of tissue cultures, the limited capacity of most tissue cultures for gas exchange (transpiration), and possible adverse effects of sucrose inclusion on nutrient recycling. For my initial experiments, I have employed four plant species (aspen, carnation, tobacco, tomato), two types of tissue cultures (seedling vs. shoot cultures), and three gelling agents (agar, gellan gum, and agarose). Using a standard hydroponics medium (Hoagland’s Solution), the experiments have included both positive and negative controls as well as six experimental treatments, each deficient in one of the following essential mineral nutrients: calcium, iron, magnesium, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The data from my experiments will be presented in the context of evaluating the pros and cons of using plant tissue cultures for hydroponic demonstration.
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1 - Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne, Biology, 2001 E. Coliseum Boulevard, Science Building 392, Fort Wayne, IN, 46805, USA
Presentation Type: Plant Biology Abstract
Location: Exhibit Hall (Northeast, Southwest & Southeast)/Hilton
Date: Sunday, July 8th, 2007
Time: 8:00 AM