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 Post subject: Re: TC of black bamboo
PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 12:59 am 
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I planted four 1-gallon TC plants from Boo-Shoot at my in-laws (zone 7) this summer (2 Rufa, 1 Denudata and 1 Bisettii). The plants had a good-sized root ball and looked very healthy in general. I'm very curious to see how they will perform, especially after reading the comments on this blog.

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 Post subject: Re: TC of black bamboo
PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:57 pm 
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To speak to the tissue culture aspect of this, not the black bamboo part.

People often complain that TC plants are less hardy or grow less quickly than divisions. You have the remember that TC plants are produced from a very small amount of tissue, grown in 100% sterile conditions (often with a fungicide and/or antibiotic in the media to control fungal and bacterial contamination). These plants will, obviously, have a much longer adaptation time to outdoor conditions than will those simply chopped off an existing grove. Further complicating factors of TC plants are somaclonal variation, what this means is that there can be epigenetic changes in the plants that are reproduced. They won't necessarily be exact copies of the parental plant. Further, if there is a lot of callus growth there can be actual chromosomal changes. Tetraploidy is particularly common. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because the tetraploids (putative) that I have regenerated from culture are much more robust with larger flowers and more rapid growth.

So, the main problem here is that TC plants have a longer adaptation time and may not be 100% similar to their 'parent' (they usually are). This will go away as the plant has to adapt to its new conditions, but it will take longer than a division.

It is inappropriate to suggest that TC plants should not be sold until more information is available. This process is well established and has been used widely since the 1960's. If we start talking about GM bamboo, then this is newer (first done only in the 1980's) and does not have the history necessary for widespread use in the nursery industry.

To keep to the black bamboo topic, here is a nice little grove in St. Catherines, Ontario (USDA 6b). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqgDinxYuQs
It is only 3 years old (I think), but you can see the black colour coming through nicely on the culms.


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 Post subject: Re: TC of black bamboo
PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:10 pm 
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Paul -- I don't know that TC experience with other types of plants applies to bamboo (it may, or it may not -- I'm saying I don't know). Boo-Shoot's literature says that bamboo is difficult to propagate using TC, and only after they developed special techniques did they start having success. Maybe these special techniques make some difference -- I don't know.

Ignoring that and going with what you said, that TC plants will take longer to establish and probably not yet have the hardiness they should, that is another reason that TC plants should at least be labeled. When I buy a plant from a nursery I go by what the plant tag says or what the information I've found on the web says. If a TC plant behaves differently for the first few years, I need to know this up-front.

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 Post subject: Re: TC of black bamboo
PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:41 pm 
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Paul Ont wrote:
To speak to the tissue culture aspect of this, not the black bamboo part.

People often complain that TC plants are less hardy or grow less quickly than divisions. You have the remember that TC plants are produced from a very small amount of tissue, grown in 100% sterile conditions (often with a fungicide and/or antibiotic in the media to control fungal and bacterial contamination). These plants will, obviously, have a much longer adaptation time to outdoor conditions than will those simply chopped off an existing grove. Further complicating factors of TC plants are somaclonal variation, what this means is that there can be epigenetic changes in the plants that are reproduced. They won't necessarily be exact copies of the parental plant. Further, if there is a lot of callus growth there can be actual chromosomal changes. Tetraploidy is particularly common. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because the tetraploids (putative) that I have regenerated from culture are much more robust with larger flowers and more rapid growth.

So, the main problem here is that TC plants have a longer adaptation time and may not be 100% similar to their 'parent' (they usually are). This will go away as the plant has to adapt to its new conditions, but it will take longer than a division.

It is inappropriate to suggest that TC plants should not be sold until more information is available. This process is well established and has been used widely since the 1960's. If we start talking about GM bamboo, then this is newer (first done only in the 1980's) and does not have the history necessary for widespread use in the nursery industry.

To keep to the black bamboo topic, here is a nice little grove in St. Catherines, Ontario (USDA 6b). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqgDinxYuQs
It is only 3 years old (I think), but you can see the black colour coming through nicely on the culms.


No, I think that the main problem is that TC bamboo plants are marketed without the info consumers need to make an educated purchase so that they may have realistic expectations. I totally disagree with you on "It is inappropriate to suggest that TC plants should not be sold until more information is available." , using your own information I think that you make a good case for why TC bamboo should either not be sold until full field tests have been performed or at least labeled very carefully, such as Alan suggests. It seems very unfair to the consumer to label a plant with the characteristics of the parent without the additional info that this is a micro-prop plant that may or may not mirror the performance of the parent stock for some years and will likely take additional years to mature into a non-juvenile form.

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 Post subject: Re: TC of black bamboo
PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 5:49 pm 
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Brad- And I disagree with you 100% :albino: ... No, I think that I did not make my point clearly and/or misread the previous post.

I don't think it is a bad thing to label TC plants as such, because they do tend to take longer to establish and special care should be given, especially if these are small plants. I would say that it is wholly inappropriate to suggest that they should not be sold at all until 'more testing' is done on them, and that is what I meant by "It is inappropriate to suggest that TC plants should not be sold until more information is available". I see no reason why the plants should not be sold.

Alan- In terms of specific differences, there are few (if any) between you're standard methods, all involve shoot formation (often preceeded by a callus induction phase) followed by rooting. All of these steps require changes in hormone levels (mostly auxins and cytokineins). I've only seen TC protocols for Bambusa and Fargesia spp., which are similar to standard protocols (basically every species, and even particular cultivars in some instances, have unique requirements for culture of various organs. For bamboo I have seen protocols for rhizomes, shoots, seedlings, and leaves). Now, I have not seen any protocol for a running species, other than Arundinaria gigantea, which the authors could not force to root in culture, the the methods for these might be different.

As another aside, we've yet to see the dramatic drop in price that should accompany large scale production of TC bamboo. I have a feeling that many producers are mindful of this and will fight to keep a bad name for TC plants. To my mind this large scale production (and cheaper plants) is the only reason to TC bamboo (other than to make transgenics), otherwise, for reasons I pointed out earlier, it seems to be a waste of time because it takes the plants so long to adapt... Oh, and TC plants might also be useful in forestry.

Edit to give links to papers on bamboo TC:
http://bfafh.de/inst2/sg-pdf/33_6_219.pdf
If anyone has access to this one: http://en.cnki.com.cn/Article_en/CJFDTO ... 202001.htm --- If you do get this protocol I can try it on some of my own plants.


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 Post subject: Re: TC of black bamboo
PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:27 pm 
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Paul, it seems we have 200% disagreement :albino:

The TC bamboo issue reminds me of a quote from Mark Twain I believe - "Wagner is really much better than he sounds".

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 Post subject: Re: TC of black bamboo
PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 8:23 pm 
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I think that quote fits exactly.

The issue with the TC bamboo comes from people not being properly informed. If you treat your new TC plant as you would a division, it will fail (or fail to live up to expectations). After removal from the pest free/hormonal environment it really does take some time for a plant to properly adapt. In the plants I work establishment and flowering takes 2-4x (or sometimes more) as long as cuttings. From the reports I've heard, it may take even longer in bamboo. If it takes 1 year for a Fargesia division to become established, I could easily envision a 4 years for similar establishment for a TC plant.

Maybe someone with experimental knowledge in bamboo can pipe in?


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 Post subject: Re: TC of black bamboo
PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:39 pm 
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I'll remind everyone again that my experience with growing hundreds of tissue culture Fargesia in the last five years only a very small percentage (less than 1%) need additional time to establish. The vast majority act and grow vigorously just like any other division. In some cases a few will grow much more vigorously than division (the same variation we're talking about from Mother Nature!) With that said if you choose to believe that all tissue cultured bamboo are in someway inferior to division, that's your decision but I'd have to disagree with you 300%. :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: TC of black bamboo
PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:11 pm 
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AJ -- your climate doesn't test the hardiness of the plants, does it? I'm not sure what Portland's weather extremes are exactly, but it could be that the TC plants don't fare as well right away in more extreme climates.

The first bamboo I got was a TC (I think) Rufa 'Green Panda', and it's been completely cold-hardy and vigorous -- as far as I can tell. I've gotten a couple of non-TC rufa's in the last year or so, so I'll be able to do some comparison soon. (My only complaint about the 4-years-in-ground 'Green Panda' is that it's floppy. This could be due to siting, but I won't know for a few years until I take divisions and try in other spots.)

All of the non-common bamboos I can get locally are from Boo-Shoot, and I really wish I knew which were TC and which weren't. I've noticed two different types of labels on these pots: one is a green and white label, and the other is black. Does anybody know if there is any significance in this?

I'm personally hoping that TC inferiority is found to be either temporary or untrue, as these seem to be the only plants I can get locally. (But again, I don't know for certain they are TC, just that they are from Boo-Shoot.)

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 Post subject: Re: TC of black bamboo
PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:35 pm 
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Alan - My climate extremes do not test hardiness but what we can do here with excellent growing conditions most of the year is observe differences in performance between species. I'll admit my bias toward Fargesia and Borinda is because they grow well here with little effort.

IMHO I don't think putting "tissue cultured" on labels will change much. Millions and millions of plants each year are tissue cultured (the majority of annuals are an example.) If I told my typical customer that they were buying a tissue cultured bamboo I'd get a blank look back. Propagation method is not a factor in their decision. I think with Boo Shoots and correct me if I'm wrong but if it has their trade name on the label it's probably tissue cultured?

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 Post subject: Re: TC of black bamboo
PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 12:19 am 
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Most people don't read nutrition labels on food either, but the info is there for those who care. I'm just suggesting that more info is better. Again, I'm not anti-TC. I'm just trying to get some real information.

Does anybody have any contacts at the U of Washington? Sounds like a good opportunity for a bamboo-based research project: do trials of field-grown plants vs. TC plants. (Or have any independent studies of this been done already?)

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 Post subject: Re: TC of black bamboo
PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:27 pm 
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Oregonbamboo wrote:
With that said if you choose to believe that all tissue cultured bamboo are in someway inferior to division, that's your decision but I'd have to disagree with you 300%. :roll:


Did someone say that? I must have missed that post? :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: TC of black bamboo
PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:44 pm 
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Alan_L wrote:
Most people don't read nutrition labels on food either, but the info is there for those who care. I'm just suggesting that more info is better. Again, I'm not anti-TC. I'm just trying to get some real information.


And I would expect the same for bamboo seedlings, info from the vendor on what realistic/possible expectations about plant development. Customers don't know that they perhaps should care so of course they would not ask on their own so I feel that a vendor should give them the facts and let them decide. I'm certain that folks who come to me for a fast growing screen due to a sudden neighbor event would appreciate knowing that some plants may develop more slowly and they have options in terms of how the stock was propagated.

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 Post subject: Re: TC of black bamboo
PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:22 pm 
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I don't have a dog in this hunt, because I'm not growing any TC bamboo that I know of anyway. Could someone explain to me how TC could change the hardiness of of the plant, or any other characteristic of the plant (keep it simple please, an overview is fine). I've seen pics here that seem to indicate reduction in hardiness in "side by side" comparison so its got me wondering. If there are differences coming to light between TC and division plants then the consumer should be advised of such. I would dislike putting the effort required in raising a plant to just be disappointed in its mature form.

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 Post subject: Re: TC of black bamboo
PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:25 pm 
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I don't have any TC plants, but one guess I have is that a TC could be reverting a plant back into its seedling form where the age gets reset to 0 due to the micro-propagation which will also keep it in a juvenile form for longer along with less hardiness to start out with.

From observing my moso bamboos which range from tiny seedlings to a few years old I do notice that the older ones tend to be noticeably cold hardier especially comparing to the ones that haven't taken a winter yet. It looks like the 1st year, they will have huge leaves that have fuzz on the underside of the leaves and will leaf burn once it drops into the teens. They will keep having big leaves even after the 2nd and 3rd year, but after a winter, I notice that the fuzz on the leaves is gone, and by the 3rd years, leaves should start getting smaller which coincides with increased hardiness. I have yet to find out if my large moso will have tiny leaves by next year, but I think this maturation process takes over 10 years and hardiness comes gradually. My big moso is currently smothered in like a ft of snow so I won't be able to take a picture for visual reference, but there are very obvious differences in their appearance. The root systems are also perhaps more advanced with age since a plant that is a year older at approximately the same size of a younger plant will dry up the soil in their pot a lot faster.

I have never seen TC bamboos physically, but if they work the same way they do growing from seed, I can understand why they might stay in their juvenile forms with reduced hardiness for at least the first few years. Since they are supposed to be exact clones, I don't think there can be that much variation with a TC plant. I really doubt that a TC strain of a bamboo becomes genetically inferior compared to non-TC plants. If genetic modification does occur with TC, then that opens the door for many opportunities in creating variations or improved strains of bamboo once someone figures out how to control the whole process.

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