The 29th International Horticultural Congress | Sustaining Lives, Livelihoods and Landscapes | 17-22 August 2014
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Micropropagation & In-Vitro Techniques

Sponsored by the ISHS Commissions Molecular Biology & In Vitro Culture and Plant Genetic Resources.

The International Symposium on "Micropropagation and In Vitro techniques" will be held in Brisbane, Australia during the International Horticultural Congress 17-22 August 2014 (IHC2014).

Plant tissue culture research has been active for many decades and has led to the development of techniques now used commercially and in research to rapidly multiply and improve a wide range of horticultural crops and their production systems. Indeed, micropropagation of horticultural crops and ornamental plants is today a reliable technology applied commercially worldwide, which allows large-scale plant multiplication, production, and supply of selected plants. Hundreds of millions of plants are produced annually by micropropagation, with peaks of productions in several European Countries (e.g. Belgium, Holland, Italy, Germany, France), while, outside Europe, micropropagation of horticultural crops is highly advanced and routinely applied commercially in USA, Australia, India, South Africa, China, New Zealand, Argentina, Brazil and others. Micropropagation, however, is highly labour oriented and, for that reason, outsourcing of plant multiplication activities is shifting today to countries having low labour cost. Hence, in the technologically-advanced countries, the great potential of micropropagation for large-scale plant multiplication can be tapped by cutting down the cost of production per plant, an aim that should be achieved by improving the technology and optimizing use of equipment and resources to reduce the unit cost of micropropagule and plant production without compromising the quality. The development and rapid multiplication of new ornamental cultivars are also required to meet the demand of consumers all year round.

As population pressures increase and climate change produces additional production constraints, the challenge is to use plant tissue culture to develop sustainable and durable horticultural production systems from an environmental and human health perspective. In vitro technologies have a large role to play in developing crop production systems for sustaining livelihoods. In addition to rapid plant multiplication, outcomes of the work carried out in various research laboratories and Institutions are showing the great potentialities of in vitro techniques for application to genetic manipulations, germplasm conservation by cryopreservation, elimination of pathogens and secondary metabolite production.

The aims of the Symposium are to present the latest innovations in micropropagation and in vitro techniques for improved horticultural crop production and to provide new insights and innovative solutions to improve horticulture sustainability worldwide. The Symposium will bring together scientists, technicians, commercial industry, and producers from around the world to discuss current application of plant tissue culture, innovative approaches, solutions and new developments incorporating several overlapping themes. The programme will include invited speakers and poster presentations.


  • reducing losses from disease via clean plant schemes
  • improving production efficiency
  • developing highly-efficient systems of in vitro propagation (somatic embryogenesis, liquid culture in temporary immersion and in bioreactors)
  • developing and providing access to cultivars with improved biotic & abiotic traits
  • improving production systems that have less impact on the environment & people
  • developing and providing access to cultivars that are healthier to eat
  • developing effective protocols to reduce plant recalcitrancy to micropropagation
  • limiting the negative impact of contaminations, vitro-pathologies (e.g. hyperhydricity, culture and explant oxidation, loss of chimeric traits), somaclonal variation, epigenetic alterations
  • application of beneficial micro-organisms
  • counteracting genetic erosion by the exploitation of in vitro conservation


Dr Maurizio Lambardi is a senior scientist and project leader of the National Research Council (CNR) of Italy, at the Trees and Timber Institute (IVALSA) of Florence, Italy. He is the Chair of the ISHS Commission ‘Molecular Biology and In Vitro Culture’. He is also the Chair of the Society for Low Temperature Biology (SLTB), and of the Italian Working Group on ‘Micropropagation and In Vitro Technologies’, as part of the Italian Society of Horticulture (SOI). He has wide-range expertise on plant biotechnology and in vitro culture systems, with particular emphasis to the development of innovative approaches of propagation, utilization and conservation in vitro of plant germplasm. His present research deals mainly with the development of effective procedures of plant conservation in liquid nitrogen (cryopreservation) and in slow growth storage.

Sharon Hamill is a Senior Principal Scientist working for Agri-Science Queensland, a service the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, at Maroochy Research Facility, Nambour, Australia. Sharon's current research areas include developing improved horticultural production systems based on disease free tissue-cultured planting material and investigating strategies to control pathogens for access to and rapid introduction of elite cultivars to industry. She is also investigating ways to improve in vitro plant production, using tissue culture for increased efficiency in plant breeding and for improved farm production. Sharon also maintains Australia's banana germplasm collection in vitro and supports biosecurity strategies using tissue culture to safeguard industry and markets. She is currently President of the Australian Branch of the International Association of Plant Tissue Culture and Biotechnology.

Professor Rod Drew has worked on a wide range of in vitro techniques on many horticultural species for 40 years. He teaches Horticulture, In Vitro Culture and Plant Biotechnology at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. He has chaired the ISHS Commission for Molecular Biology and in vitro Culture and convened several successful ISHS symposia.

Keynote Speakers

Prof. Miguel Pedro Guerra is Full Professor at the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), Santa Catarina State, Brazil. The main focus of his research is related to the use of biotechnologies for the characterization, conservation, use and improvement of plant genetic resources, mainly those from the Brazilian Atlantic Rain Forest. The techniques used include in vitro conservation of germoplasm, somatic embryogenesis, and the scale-up of micropropagation in Biofactories. Prof Guerra has chosen to speak on “Advances and applications of somatic embryogenesis in plants with emphasis on selected perennial model systems”. The address will focus on the fundamentals, modulation, advances and applications of somatic embryogenesis and associated techniques in selected model systems under investigation within his research group. These model systems are mainly perennial native plants from dicots, palms, and conifers.

Jeffrey Adelberg is Professor of Horticulture in the School of Agriculture, Forestry and Environmental Sciences, at Clemson University, USA. His academic work focuses on plant responses to the environmental conditions created during in vitro propagation. Transport properties describe water and nutrient relations in liquid culture better than semi-solid agar gels. Design of hardware and formulation of media for liquid culture, and systems to integrate large-scale propagation with outdoor production, are areas of current activity. The title of his lecture is “Micropropagation in liquid culture using partial immersion systems”. Partial immersion systems have recently been developed in research laboratories and have great potential applications in commercial micropropagation. To be successful, higher proliferation rates, better plant quality, and labor savings must offset the risk in switching from (agar-based) conventional cultures. Reliable and robust performance in large-scale propagation is not directly applicable based on research scale activities. New systems will be shown to exemplify benefits and problems in adopting partial immersion technologies.

Scientific Committee

  • Maurizio Lambardi (Italy)
  • Sharon Hamill (Australia)
  • Rod Drew (Australia)
  • Jeffrey Adelberg (USA)
  • Miguel Pedro Guerra (Brazil)
  • Jorge Canhoto (Portugal)
  • Mary Christey (New Zealand)
  • Geert-Jan de Klerk (Netherlands)
  • Gerard C. Douglas (Ireland)
  • Danny Geelen (Belgium)
  • Pablo Marinangeli (Argentina)
  • Aylin Elif Ozudogru (Turkey)
  • Ranjith Pathirana (New Zealand)
  • John Preece (USA)
  • Alain Rival (France)
  • Barbara Ruffoni (Italy)
  • Paul Read (USA)
  • Anabela Romano (Portugal)
  • Takuya Tetsumura (Japan)
  • Richard R. Williams (Australia)