Two experienced global plant tissue culture companies are joining forces to bring the significant benefits of automation to customers around the world.
Lab Associates, founded in 1987, has grown steadily with an increasing focus on plant tissue culture and seed laboratories. Since launching in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, Lab Associates’ customers have spread out globally to over 40 countries on six continents.
The patented 'Nic-In Systems' has been developed to allow most tissue cultures to be planted in the nursery by automatic transplanters. By replacing round containers with the 'Nic-In Systems', customers can increase the amount of plants per container from 34 to 49, even though both containers use the same amount of room in the laboratory. This has improved the efficiency of growing chambers and customers can now grow an extra 35% more cultures, using the same amount of energy. The same savings apply to shipping costs, because users can ship 35% more plants in the same boxes.
Extensive shipping trials have been done using 'Nic-In Systems', simulating rough handling. The result was that the cultures looked like they had been carried by hand. No broken agar, not a single plant dislodged. The Nic-In tray has 2 'arms', that allow the cultures to be shipped upside down, without any chance of the tray becoming dislodged and damaging the cultures.
The current system of 'random' planting of tissue cultures in a container with agar, makes it difficult to check the quantity in each container. The 'Nic-In Systems' cell structure ensures that each container has 49 plants.
With 'Nic-In Systems', the cultures are transplanted in the nursery with the plug of agar still attached, reducing or eliminating the transplanting shock. The roots can now grow gently out of the agar into the peat, while the plants can still utilize the nutrients in the agar, as the agar slowly 'melts' away into the peat over a period of 5 to 10 days
Furthermore no additional equipment is needed in the laboratory to use 'Nic-In Systems'.
The 'Nic-In Systems' tray and container are autoclavable and can also be gamma irradiated, so they can be used for 'cold pour' or 'hot pour' procedures. The container is designed so that it fits nicely in the operator's hand. The lid is designed to reduce infection due to operator handling. The tray system allows the laboratory operator to solely concentrate on the planting of the cultures, without the distraction of having to count the plants while doing so.
A trial starter pack is available for a nominal cost to allow growers, nurseries and labs to test the benefits of this significant automation.