Quality Certification of Tissue Culture Raised Banana under NCS-TCP and its significance
Author: Dr. Shiv Kant Shukla, Assistant General Manager,
Biotech Consortium India Limited (BCIL), Anuvrat Bhawan, 210. DDU Marg, New Delhi 110002 India, Email: shivkantbio@gmail.com, Phone: 011-23219058


Tissue culture banana is very much popular among the growers and it is widely accepted in India. Majority of tissue culture companies are engaged in mass multiplication of banana. It covers almost 70 % of the total production of tissue culture plants. Tissue culture plants offer various advantages over the conventional planting materials (suckers) of banana in terms of better vegetative growth and yield. However, there is risk of inadvertently propagating virus infected plants as well as producing the inferior plants as somaclone if proper package and practices are not adopted while commercial micro-propagation. In view of the above, Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India has established a robust Quality Management System (QMS) known as National Certification for certification of tissue culture plants/propagules (1)


Quality certification of banana includes following two aspects

A. Virus indexing: four viruses are reported in Banana (i) Banana bract mosaic virus (Potyvirus) (ii) Banana bunchy top virus (Babuvirus) (iii) Banana streak virus (Badnavirus) and (iv) Cucumber mosaic virus (Cucumovirus)(2) . Banana bract mosaic virus and Cucumber mosaic virus are tested by Enzyme Linked Immuno Sorbent Assay (ELISA) whereas PCR based diagnostic is preferred for remaining two viruses.

B. Testing of Genetic Fidelity/Uniformity: Uniform tissue culture planting material is essential in order to plan the production cycle by the farmers. Tissue culture plants are supposed to be uniform in terms of their homogenous population. However, deviation from standard package of practices (excessive use of phyto-hormones and adjuvants, prolonged multiplication cycles, aging and stress) results into somoclonal variations. Variations are non-desirable. Sometimes variants continue to multiply in the form of in vitro culture which lead to production of variant population within the batch. Such variants need to be detected through PCR based analysis. Various DNA primers are used for this purpose. ISSR Primers are used widely due to its cost effectiveness and satisfactory result.

Process Involved in certification of Tissue Culture Banana(3)

1. Getting Recognized under NCS-TCP: First step for entering into plant certification is to get the commercial tissue culture production facility (TCPF) recognized under the National Certification System for Tissue Culture Plants (NCS-TCP). TCPFs are recognized based on the compliance with defined parameters broadly categorized into infrastructure, effective supervision of production process, package of practices for the crop which is being multiplied at commercial scale, maintenance of records and documents.

2. Indexing of stock culture/mother plant tissue: Plants should be derived from the mother plant tissue/stock culture tested for the listed viruses. In case of banana, all the four viruses need to be indexed prior to mass multiplication at commercial level.

3. Restricting the multiplication cycle: As per the tissue culture standards of banana, in-vitro multiplication should not exceed from the eight cycle (4) . After 8th cycle, all the multiple shoots should be transferred for rooting.

4. Maintenance of records/unique code and batch number: Each activity (From selection of mother plants upto dispatch of hardened plants for planting) should be documented systematically. Maintenance of batch is the basic requirement for certifying plants and ensure traceability.

5. Certification of Plants (Before dispatching to farmers): Tissue culture plants should be acclimatized in the insect proof greenhouse and nethouse. Samples (depending on batch size) are drawn from the plants being hardened/acclimatized. Sample size covers 1 % for the batch of 1000 plants, 0.5% for the batch of plants ranging from 1001 -10000 and 0.1 % for the batch consisting of 10001 - 1,00,000

Authorized organizations for Recognition and Certification:

Application for recognition needs to be submitted to the NCS-TCP Management Cell established at BCIL, New Delhi. Recognized tissue culture companies may get their plants tested and certified from the Accredited Test laboratories (ATLs) under the NCS-TCP. Detailed process and guidelines are available at the official website of the NCS-TCP (www.dbtncstcp.nic.in)

Significance: Tissue culture banana plants are sold at the average price of Rs 14/- as compared to traditional planting material (suckers) costing Rs 2-3/unit. Farmers get assurance of quality (that plants are free from viruses and uniform) while buying certified plants. Tissue culture companies get visibility and increased market after getting recognized. Moreover, certification of plants ensures that they are supplying good quality plants which will eventually minimize potential complains of consumers and help in their business growth and sustainability. It is noteworthy facts that approximate 80 million banana plants produced by Indian tissue culture companies were already certified till July 2016 (5)


1. Shukla S. K., Sharma P and Swarup R (2012) Impact of national certification system for tissue culture raised plants (ncs-tcp) on Indian plant tissue culture industry: A unique quality management system for commercial plant tissue culture. 3rd World Congress on Biotechnology, HICC, Hyderabad (13th - 15th September, 2012)

2. http://dbtncstcp.nic.in/downloads/List_of_Viruses_2014.pdf

3. Shukla S.K (2015) Key Components for Establishment and Operation of Commercial Plant Tissue Culture Unit in Accordance to National Standards. International Journal of Tropical Agriculture. Vol. 33 (2) part 4: 1599-1605

4. Shukla S.K. (2016) An Overview of National Certification System for Tissue Culture raised Plants (NCS-TCP). Page No. 23 (http://dbtncstcp.nic.in/downloads/NCS_TCP_Book.pdf)

5. http://www.dbtindia.nic.in/improving-agricultural-yield-and-quality-through-tissue-culture-technology/

About Author / Additional Info:
Dr. Shiv Kant Shukla has done PhD in Biotechnology and has diversified experience in the area of commercial biotechnology. He had earlier worked as in charge of commercial plant tissue culture unit and currently working in Biotech Consortium India Limited (BCIL), New Delhi a company promoted by DBT, Govt of India. As the Assistant General Manager BCIL, he is managing projects of national importance such as National Certification System for Tissue Culture Plants (NCS-TCP), consultancy services for setting up of biotech park/incubator, organization of entrepreneurship development programmes in biotechnology etc.