Plant tissue culture: Current status, opportunities and challenges
In the last two decades plant biotechnology applications have been widely developed and incorporated into the agricultural systems of many countries worldwide. Tissue culture tools have been a key factor to support such outcomes. Current results have allowed plant biotechnology and its products -including transgenic plants with several traits- to be the most assimilated technology for farmers and companies, representing several benefits such as: 125 millions ha of transgenic crops in 2008, the reduction of pesticides application by up to 9% in the last ten years, transgenic plants with a better nutritional quality, mass propagation of selected and healthy plants, and the production of proteins for industrial or therapeutic use. The rapid and extensive assimilation for this technology has improved the competences of the agricultural systems both in industrial and in developing countries, based on the proper application of research programs. Several theoretical and practical aspects supporting plant tissue culture applications, as well as the main results and current status of the technology are discussed in this review. The reader will find key elements to evaluate the potential of plant tissue culture tools for the development of agriculture, livestock, human health and nutrition, and human well being in general.