Concerning a fast alternative plant source for tissue culture:
If you just want to show the students how to do tissue culture, generate
callus, and maybe some differentiated roots or shoots, you might have good
luck with the following.
I have surface sterilized common garden bean seeds with 10% bleach, 10 min.
and sowed on MS plant tissue culture agar media. The beans germinate in a
week, and the students can cut various sections (cotyledons, hypocotyl,
radicle) and see how each grows on a variety of hormone combinations. We
have had very good luck generating masses of callus, and depending on the
year can also get lots of roots, and occasionally shoots.
I also use the Brassica Fast Plants for this. They germinate within a few
days. They are smaller than the bean however, and do not produce as much
mass as quickly as the bean. They do often produce anthocyanin-pigmented
tissue, which the students find intriguing and which allows one to slip in
some discussion of environmental control over gene expression.
Hartford, CT 06106
e-mail: kathleen.archer at mail.trincoll.edu
Ph: (203) 207-2226