Call Us: +31 10 261 3311

Tissue culture problems (and solutions) with lighting

There are many common problems in tissue culture such as contamination, browning, low multiplication and rooting rate, or an inability to survive in latter stages or in the nursery. However in general tissue culture is a good technique of propagating plants which cannot be grown through conventional means or if one need to propagate thousands of plants within a short amount of time and with predictable properties. With the rise of automation, better environmental control and better procedures there is less likelihood for procedural faults and issues such as contamination.

There are still a few remaining issues that limit the ability to reach potential production. Here are a few that might relate to lighting, in particular when the laboratory is using fluorescent lighting or regular LED lighting:

Inconsistent growth

e.g. Some tissue develops well, others not. Some meristems grow taller than others. Root development is inconsistent.

Suboptimal growth

e.g. Thin meristem, yellow leaf, few roots in later stages. Difficulty adapting to actual field conditions.

Slow growth

e.g. It takes many weeks to grow tissue culture for each stage.


Most of these above relate to the fact that regular fluorescent lighting and regular LED lighting and even some LED grow lighting are not able to adjust the exact intensity or spectrum to give the tissue culture what they need and when they need it. Fluorescent lighting has a spectrum which is optimized for the human eye and to support human vision. However plants need light for growth and have photoreceptors that can capture light in areas where fluorescent lighting have little or no light. This can lead to inconsistent growth. Whilst fluorescent lighting has been used for a long time, it is a limiting factor in reaching potential tissue culture production yields. 

Another example is that during the multiplication stage a plant might need different lighting than in rooting, shooting stage or hardening stage. Light should give the plant what they need at the right time and also help them to transition from one tissue culture stage to the other and ultimately help them to grow into vigorous plants. 

Not all tissue culture is equal. e.g. banana tissue culture is very different from dendrobium tissue culture. Even within banana there are different varieties that might prefer slightly different light. Using the same fixture may lead to suboptimal growth or slow growth. To reach potential yields lighting that is made for plants and fully adjustable in both intensity and spectrum will help to reach potential. 

An additional benefit of fully adjustable lighting is that a tissue culture lab can switch production after a few months if needed and just update the lighting settings to give the most optimum light. 

The best effect for HortiPower tissue culture lighting is for those labs that are already producing on a commercial scale and need to meet growing demand. E.g. they need to produce more in shorter timespan, or they are looking for a 'higher' quality tissue culture plant or they are looking for more predictable growth and consistency so they can plan easier around their capacity. 

HortiPower has generic lightscripts for each type of tissue culture and can give recommendations. Based on these a grower can optimize or ask for specific lightscripts based on their production goals. With more than 60,000 controls steps to control light there are literally thousands of possibilities to reach potential yields and lighting should not need to be a limiting factor.

In this picture an example, the left hand tissue culture grew under HortiPower with Lightscript, the right hand tissue culture grew under regular grow light. With HortiPower tissue culture growth can be managed in a better way, so that optimum speed is achieved to get to desirable plants while using materials, labor, space and energy in a more efficient way.