Jan 17, 2023
New NuPlant plant tissue culture propagation system released

NuPlant is introducing SmartClone, an advanced plant tissue culture propagation system designed to rapidly deliver significantly improved plants from breeding programs for multiple species, according to a news release.

SmartClone uses precision robotics to deliver robust clones from parent material using customizable conditions for each growth phase. The system promises stronger, more uniform plantlets, reduced labor and lower costs per plant, according to the release.

The product from the Australian plant biotechnology company is touted as working in multiple applications.

“Cloning through tissue culture has been around for many years and it remains an important technology for plant improvement,” Bob Teasdale, NuPlant’s CEO, said in the release. “But the cloning processes used are manual and inconsistent. Our automated processes increase the speed and consistency of tissue culture, making it more viable for plant breeders globally and allowing faster production of healthier plants with less labor.”

The SmartClone system reduces labor costs by a five-fold factor across several plant species when compared to conventional tissue culture methods, according to the release. Even traditionally difficult species can be cloned in a controlled, large-scale environment at an economically viable price point with a high rate of survivability, according to the release.

In a sample study for grapevines, SmartClone saw a total cost savings of 19 cents per plantlet (86% less) compared to conventional clonal propagation accounting for container, media, labor, nursery transfer, residence time and attrition, according to the release. In the case of potatoes, the corresponding saving was estimated at 28 cents per plantlet (58% less), according to the release.

Plantlets developed in the SmartClone system significantly outperform those produced from conventional tissue culture because they possess up to 10 times greater biomass, better root systems, and normal physiology, according to the release. Total time in the nursery is reduced from the typical 14 to 16 weeks to just eight weeks and 95% of the plants typically finish, compared to as low as 70% with conventional tissue culture, according to the release.

SmartClone can create the most value in intensive crop production, including potatoes, grapes, berries and hemp where efficient tissue culture is critical for high-health, high-yielding plants. It also can play an important role in the production of healthier tree planting stock and the supply of many ornamental plant species which have been difficult to propagate using conventional tissue culture methods, according to the release.

Based in Toowong, Queensland, NuPlant develops technology to improve plant cloning and improvement in the fields of agricultural crops, forestry and the ornamental plant industry.

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