Research chemist/microbiologist, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, Fermentation and Biochemistry Research Unit, Peoria, IL 61604.
The influence of the culture chamber size and medium volume on the growth rates of shoot tips of peas, lettuce, kidney beans, and spearmint were determined after 8 weeks of incubation. Cultures were grown in a variety of culture chambers including culture tubes, baby food jars, Magenta GA-7 containers, 1-pint Mason jars, 1-quart Mason jars used with and without an automated plant culture system (APCS), 0.5-gal Mason jars with and without an APCS, Bio-safe chambers with an APCS, and polycarbonate culture chambers with an APCS having culture chamber volumes of 55, 143, 365, 462, 925, 1850, 6000, and 16,400 ml, respectively. Plans are presented for the construction of various culture chambers used in an APCS. The APCS consisted of a peristaltic pump, media reservoir containing 1 liter of liquid nutrient medium, and a culture chamber. Cultures grown with an APCS consistently produced higher fresh weights than cultures using any of the agar culture systems tested. Growth rates varied considerably depending on the plant species and culture system tested. Peas, lettuce, and spearmint exhibited flowering only when grown in the APCS. A cost comparison using the APCS versus various conventional tissue culture systems is presented.