Tissue Culture

​Plant Tissue Culture Laboratory

The main aim of the Plant Tissue Culture Lab within the Plant Health Biotechnology Centre at Lija, from the date of opening until recently was the production of virus-free rootstocks which were utilised for the grafting of stone fruit trees at the government-owned nursery. The grafted virus-free trees were then sold annually to Maltese growers and amateur gardeners. Also, ornamental plants such as the Boston fern and African violet have been propagated in vitro. In 2006 the activity of the Plant Tissue Culture Lab was diversified to the conservation and sustainable use of local varieties of fruit tree species which are in danger of genetic erosion. 

Work has already been carried out and shall be continued on the clonal and sanitary selection of local varieties of fruit trees. Sanitation involves the removal of certain pests and diseases from plants utilising in vitro techniques. This can only be carried out using facilities like the ones found at the Tissue Culture Lab. Virus-free and healthy local varieties of fruit trees will then be available for conservation purposes and also for the availability of healthy stock for cultivation in Malta. This will also act as a safeguard against possible loss of local varieties through the accidental introduction of harmful pests or diseases which may be introduced together with propagating and planting material coming from overseas. In addition, the Tissue Culture Lab has continued the micropropagation of ornamental plants and was also involved in the micropropagation for conservation purposes of the local tulip and various local orchids.

Example of Plant Tissue Culture