The Potential of Temporary Immersion Bioreactors (TIBs) in Meeting Crop Production Demand in Nigeria
Micropropagation, popularly known for large-scale clonal propagation, is the first major and widely accepted practical application of plant biotechnology. The commercial utility of conventional micropropagation of important crop species is limited as a result of the large numbers needed annually to start up new farms in addition to high production costs. These result primarily from high labour cost, low multiplication rate or long duration of multiplication before plantlets are taken to the field, and poor survival rates resulting from contamination risks and during acclimatization. All of these constitute a major setback in the use of Micropropagation for scaling up of the several economic species for commercialization. Temporary Immersion Bioreactor system (TIBs) is a relatively recent micropropagation procedure that employs the use of automated gadgets to control rapid multiplication of plant cultures under adequate conditions. TIBs provide a more precise control of the adequate conditions (gaseous exchange, illumination etc.) required by plants for growth, development and survival than the conventional culture vessels. This bioreactor system incorporates a number of features specifically designed to simplify its operation and reduce production costs. The set-up consists of two vessels, one for the plantlets and the other one for the liquid culture media coupled together through a perforated rubber tubing that permits the flow of the liquid media from one vessel to the other. TIBs consist of three main phases: Multiplication, Elongation and Rooting phase. Plantlets propagated in TIBs have better performance than those propagated by conventional methods of micropropagation. This is as a result of a better handling of the in vitro atmosphere and the nutrition. TIBs provide a rapid and efficient plant propagation system for many agricultural and forestry species, utilizing liquid media to avoid intensive manual handling. In addition to diminishing production costs regarding labour force, Temporary Immersion Bioreactors save energy, augment micropropagation productivity and efficiency.
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