PBIO*3750 Plant Tissue Culture

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The following description is for the course offering in Fall 2021 and is subject to change. It is provided for information only. The course outline distributed to the class at the beginning of the semester describes the course content and delivery, and defines the methods and criteria to be used in establishing the final grades for the course.

This course examines and discusses the principles, protocols and utilization of plant cell tissue culture systems. In vitro propagation and regeneration, mutagenesis and selection, secondary metabolite elicitation and cell transformation techniques including protoplast fusion, direct DNA uptake and plant bacterial co-cultivation will be emphasized.

Pre-Requisite(s): AGR*2470 or BOT*2100

This course examines and discusses the principles, protocols and utilization of plant cell tissue culture systems. In vitro propagation and regeneration, mutagenesis and selection, secondary metabolite elicitation and cell transformation techniques including protoplast fusion, direct DNA uptake and plant bacterial co-cultivation will be emphasized.


Teaching Assistant:

Rebecca Bradley

Credit Weight:


Course Level:

  • Undergraduate

Academic Department (or campus):

Department of Plant Agriculture



Semester Offering:

  • Fall

Class Schedule and Location:

Please refer to Web Advisor for class schedule and location.

Learning outcomes:

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  1. understand the theory and principles of cellular toti-potency
  2. know the mechanisms by which plant cells revert back from a seemingly terminal situation, to regenerate further.
  3. understand the principles and methods behind single cell regeneration which is known as 'plant cell and tissue culture'.
  4. know and appreciate the various methods or pathways by which single cells develop into a tissue, organ or whole plant.
  5. know the use of modern technology like 3D printing and LED lighting in plant tissue culture.
  6. understand the Genetic improvement at the single cell level and how this can be translated at the organism level.
  7. know how to regenerate plants in sterile environment.
  8. understand if the GMOs are boon or bane and the possible social issues associated with it.
  9. know how to use plant cell and tissue culture techniques for both research and commercial purposes.
  10. understand the Plant genetic conservation using in vitro techniques.

Lecture Content:

Topics to be covered in lectures include:
  • Tissue Culture Methodology
    • sterile technique
    • media components, genetic control of TC
    • plant growth regulators
    • factors affecting plant tissue culture
    • environmental effects, 3D printing and LED lighting in plant tissue culture
  • In Plant Cultures
    • cell cycle, growth patterns, differentiation
  • Organogenesis/somatic embryogenesis
  • Culture Types and Applications
    • micropropagation
    • somaclonal variation
    • in vitro selection
    • disease elimination
    • secondary metabolites
    • somatic embryogenesis
    • somatic embryogenesis - artificial seeds
    • haploidy, microspore culture, embryo rescue
    • protoplast
    • germplasm conservation
  • Plane Cell Cultures for Plant Transformation
    • Agrobacterium cocultivation
    • Direct DNA uptake
  • Societal Issues in Plant Biotech
There will be 1 or 2 guest lectures on the topics listed here or on a closely related topic by Research Associates or other Faculty who work on these areas. In the event of the course instructor not able to deliver the lecture alternate arrangements will be made.
Labs & Seminars:


1. Media Preparation (YOUTUBE VIDEO)
2. Surface Sterilization, Explant Preparation and culture -and Tests of the Effects of Plant Hormones on Tobacco/Petunia/Tomato Regeneration (HANDS ON-Species will depend on what is available)
3. Nucellus culture (YOUTUBE VIDEO)
4. Somatic Embryogenesis (HANDS ON -African Violet/Geranium)
5. Haploid Production in Rapeseed by Microspore Culture OR Protoplast isolation and culture (DEMONSTRATION/YOUTUBE VIDEO)

The lab videos will be heavy more towards the start of the semester (first 4-5 weeks) and then it is just observations as the cultures grow and submitting reports

Course Assignments and Tests:

Assignment or Test Contribution to Final Grade

Test 1


Test 2


Lab reports


Presentation 10%
Class Attendance and participation 10%

Final Exam


Final examination:

Please refer to Web Advisor for exam schedule and location.

Course Resources:

Required Texts:
  • No text books are required as the lectures are compiled from a number of such books.
  • Class lectures will be available on CouseLink as PowerPoint presentations and the students are instructed to print them ahead of the lecture.
  • Although lecture notes will be available through CourseLink, students are strongly encouraged not to miss lectures as there will be a lot of additional examples and explanations provided in the lectures. From the past experience, regular class attendance and attentiveness has paid good dividends.
Recommended Texts:


Lab Manual:

A lab manual will be provided during the first lab – no costs involved for this.

Other Resources:


Field Trips:


Additional Costs:

No additional costs are expected for this course.

Course Policies:

Grading Policies

Any discrepancies over grading should be brought to the Professor’s attention within one week from the date of handing out. After one week, no changes will be accommodated. All are expected to attend the mid-term test without fail. Alternate dates cannot be accommodated unless there is a proven emergency which should be provided. If anyone needs consideration, it should be brought to the Professor’s attention within the first 2 weeks of classes.

Course Policy on Group Work:

Labs will be done in groups of two. The data collected is expected to be shared by the two and partners are allowed to take turns to record data, although it is encouraged for individual attention to be given while taking data. However, the lab report must be independent. Plagiarism is strictly not allowed as per University policies.

Course Policy regarding use of electronic devices and recording of lectures:

Recording of lectures may be permitted on a case by case basis and prior authorization from the professor is required for such electronic recordings. Use of cell phones/messaging during the class hours in stricltly prohibited. Students are expected to put their cell phones in silence mode during the class. No exceptions to this.

Other Course Information:

Assessment Details
Test 1 (15%)    In Class
Rapid fire type quiz/short answers which will be MOSTLY done during class time.

Test 2 (15%)  
Similar to test 1 on the subject areas covered after Test 1

Lab reports (25%)

Presentation (10%)
Presentation will be done on the last lab hours. The topics for presentation should be informed on or before Oct 25. Failure to do so will result in losing points.

Class attendance and participation (10%)
Date: All through the semester
Even though the classes are online and will be posted, it is expected that the student attend the class online via zoom during the regular hours and participate during the lecture and discussion. We will try to use available methods to make sure the students are actually attending the classes. Just attending all the lectures online will get you 8/10 on this and, in addition asking a few questions or participation by interacting will get full score

Final Exam (25%)
Date: Date, Time and Location TBA
Final exam will be short answers that will cover the lectures after the second quiz.

University Policies

Academic Consideration

When you find yourself unable to meet an in-course requirement because of illness or compassionate reasons, please advise the course instructor in writing, with your name, id#, and e-mail contact. See the academic calendar for information on regulations and procedures for Academic Consideration:

Academic Misconduct

The University of Guelph is committed to upholding the highest standards of academic integrity and it is the responsibility of all members of the University community, faculty, staff, and students  to be aware of what constitutes academic misconduct and to do as much as possible to prevent academic offences from occurring.

University of Guelph students have the responsibility of abiding by the University's policy on academic misconduct regardless of their location of study; faculty, staff and students have the responsibility of supporting an environment that discourages misconduct. Students need to remain aware that instructors have access to and the right to use electronic and other means of detection. Please note: Whether or not a student intended to commit academic misconduct is not relevant for a finding of guilt. Hurried or careless submission of assignments does not excuse students from responsibility for verifying the academic integrity of their work before submitting it. Students who are in any doubt as to whether an action on their part could be construed as an academic offence should consult with a faculty member or faculty advisor.

The Academic Misconduct Policy is detailed in the University Calenders:


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