Explant culture

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A rose grown from tissue culture.

In biology, explant culture is a technique used for the isolation of cells from a piece or pieces of tissue. Tissue harvested in this manner is called an explant. It can be a portion of the shoot, leaves, or some cells from a plant, or can be any part of the tissue from an animal, or from umblical cord tissue.

In brief, the tissue is harvested in an aseptic manner, often minced, and pieces placed in a cell culture dish containing growth media. Over time, progenitor cells migrate out of the tissue onto the surface of the dish. These primary cells can then be further expanded and transferred into fresh dishes through micropropagation.

Explant culture can also refer to the culturing of the tissue pieces themselves, where cells are left in their surrounding extracellular matrix to more accurately mimic the in vivo environment e.g. cartilage explant culture,[1] or blastocyst implant culture.[2]


  1. ^ Orth MW et al. (2000) Cartilage turnover in embryonic chick tibial explant cultures. Poult Sci 79:990-993.
  2. ^ Ivan Bedzhov, Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz.(2014). Self-Organizing Properties of Mouse Pluripotent Cells Initiate Morphogenesis upon Implantation. Cell,; DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.01.023