Experiments in plant tissue culture, 40-41 (1985)

Charcoal in Tissue Culture
John H Dodds, Lorin Watson Roberts

Charcoal. Activated charcoal will adsorb many organic and inorganic molecules from a culture medium (Mattson and Mark, 1971), and this substance has been used in a variety of tissue culture systems. Although the precise effects of charcoal are unknown, there are several possible modes of operation. It may remove contaminants from agar (Kohlenbach and Wernicke, 1978) and secondary products secreted by the cultured tissues (Wang and Huang, 1976; Fridborg et al., 1978), or possibly regulate the supply of certain endogenous growth regulators (Reinert and Bajaj, 1977). In addition, some of the effects of activated charcoal may be due to darkening of the support matrix and thus approximating more closely soil conditions (Proskauer and Berman, 1970). As a medium supplement activated charcoal has been reported to stimulate embryogenesis (Kohlenbach and Wernicke, 1978). On the other hand, the presence of this absorbent can have inhibitory effects on growth and morphogenesis in vitro (Constantin, Henke, and Mansur, 1977; Fridborg et al., 1978). The type of activated charcoal used is important, because the adsorptive characteristics are dependent on the manufacturing process (Bonga, 1982). Wood charcoal is considerably higher in carbon content in comparison to bone charcoal, and the latter preparation contains ingredients that may adversely affect plant tissue cultures (Bonga, 1982). Further information on the effects of charcoal-supplemented media can be found in chapters 11 and 14.