In a joint effort to modernise tissue culture transplanting, Majestic Youngplants from Australia, BOCK Bio Science from Germany, and TTA from the Netherlands introduced a transplanting method that will shake the tissue culture market to its core. The outcome of a highly successful collaboration boosts average nursery capacities from 3,500 tissue cultures transplanted per day, to 15,000 per hour.

“We foresee one more shift towards automation in young plants and ready plants production, which will be driven by a growing shortage in available labour and rising labour costs,” said Stephan and Friederike von Rundstedt, executive partners at BOCK Bio Science. “Making our contribution to a secure future in vegetative propagation, we have developed in vitro cultivation methods for various plant species with a stable and automatically usable RoBoPlug© (pat. pend.). With this innovation we do not only offer clients a calibrated, uniform plant – we can also transplant it.”

“Until now,” Nico van Rooijen, CEO at Majestic Youngplants, explained, “it has been assumed that agar transplanting cannot be done. With tissue culture randomly planted, no machine would know where each plant is, ruling out automation for a fact. Our system challenges this status quo: it gives each plant an exact position and transcribes that position to a transplanter. Adding the jewel to the crown, we developed a rectangular container – the NicIn tray® – that is 35% more efficient than conventional, round containers.”

On behalf of Majestic Youngplants and BOCK Bio Science, TTA took the RoBoPlug© and NicIn tray® and developed a working transplanting system for this application. Bram Verschoor, Commercial Director at TTA: “In regular propagation systems, the peat plug offers ample body for a gripper to work with. Transplanting tissue culture, however, is a different game altogether. We were able to tweak our existing Midi such that its grippers handle the precarious agar with extreme care and manoeuvre it without causing damage.”

The implications of a highly successful collaboration are endless. Nurseries will now be able to retain the transplantation process on site, boosting their environmental footprint and cutting back on delivery times. The method saves planting labour, laboratory space, transportation costs and damages, and growing time. Nico van Rooijen concludes: “I expect our work will impact at least 20% of the global market for tissue culture transplantation.”

For more information about this press release, please contact Bram Verschoor at bram@tta.eu.