TISSUE CULTURE LABORATORY
The primary mandate of Tissue Culture is production of disease free plants, rapid multiplication of plants, product uniformity and high returns. The unit produces viral free seed potato micro tubers and Banana seedlings. Apart from Tissue Culture, the unit also has Aeroponic facility which also functions in production of seed potato mini-tuber.
Seed borne viruses of potato not only affect the quantity but also the quality of potato by reducing the total yield and also reduce the marketable yield. To reduce the infection rate of virus in seed potatoes, tissue culture technique, which is the only tissue culture lab in country, is strongly committed to improving the nutrition and increasing the income of the rural population by using the technologies like tissue culture micro-propagation and Aeroponic technologies for production of disease free seed potatoes.
Annually tissue culture laboratory has a capacity of producing over 30000 numbers disease free micro tubers. In 2012, Aeroponic system of producing potato mini tubers was introduced at National Seed Centre, Paro in collaboration with National Potato Program. In 2014, one more Aeroponic facility was established at National Seed Centre. Annually, for about 400 kilograms (35000 numbers) of disease free Aeroponic mini tubers are produced.
Tissue culture banana production was initiated in the year 2014 in NSC. The Centre usually supplies 300 to 400 banana seedlings annually through normal sucker method before adoption of tissue culture technology whereas Centre has now supplied around more than 30000 banana seedling throughout the country in less than 3 years there.
The most recent crops which NSC is working upon are the Kiwi plants, Cardamom, Avocado and Apple rootstock. Results have been promising for Kiwi plants and apple rootstock and the possibility of using tissue culture technique to improve the crops cultivation in Bhutan is desirable. Therefore, the unit & the Centre as a whole are planning for further necessary trials to perfect the micro-propagation technique for these plants through tissue culture.