Plant tissue culture is a method or technique to isolate parts of plants (protoplasm, cells, tissues, and organs) and grow them on artificial media in aseptic conditions in a controlled space so that parts of these plants can grow and develop into complete plants. The use of tissue culture techniques in the beginning just to prove the theory of "totipotensi" ("total genetic potential") is expressed by Schleiden and Schwann (1838) which states that the plant cell as the smallest unit can grow and thrive if kept in appropriate conditions. We have used tissue culture techniques not only as a means for studying aspects of plant physiology and biochemistry, but has developed into methods for various purposes such as -
Mikropropagasi (micro propagation of plants): Tissue culture techniques have been used to help produce crops in large scale through mikropropagasi or klonal propagation of various plants. Plant tissue in very small amounts can produce hundreds or thousands of plants continuously. This technique has been used in industrial scale in various countries to commercially produce various types of plants such as ornamental plants (orchids, cut flowers, etc..), Fruit crops (like bananas), crops and forestry industries (coffee, teak, etc.). By using tissue culture methods, millions of plants with the same genetic characteristics can be obtained only from one eye buds. Therefore, this method becomes an alternative in the vegetative propagation of plants.
Improved Crop: In crop improvement efforts through the glorification of the conventional methods, to obtain pure strains can take six to seven generations of self-pollination or crosses. Through tissue culture techniques, can be obtained homosigot plants in a short time by producing haploid plants through pollen culture, anther or ovaries followed by chromosome doubling. Homosigot plants can be used as plant breeding material in order to improve the nature of the plant.
Production of disease-free plants (virus): Tissue culture technology has contributed in a plant that is free from viruses. In plants that have been infected with the virus, the cell in the bud tip (meristem) is an area that is not infected with the virus. In this way the meristem will mengkulturkan obtained virus-free plants.
Genetic transformation: Tissue culture techniques have become an important part in helping the success of plant genetic engineering (gene transfer). For example, bacterial gene transfer
(such as cry genes from Bacillus thuringiensis) into the plant cells will be expressed after transgeniknya achieved plant regeneration.
The production of secondary metabolites, compounds: Plant cell culture can also be used to produce biochemical compounds (secondary metabolites) such as alkaloids, terpenoids, and phenyl etc. propanoid. This technology is now available in industrial scale. For example, the commercial production of compounds "shikonin" from Lithospermum erythrorhizon cell culture.