How to Write a Plant Tissue Culture Project Proposal

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Before writing a plant tissue culture project proposal, it is important to understand what a plant culture actually is. Plant tissue culture is a blanket term for a collection of techniques that are used to maintain or grow plant cells, tissues and organs under sterile conditions. These conditions rely on a nutrient culture medium of known composition.

Plant Tissue Culture Basics

In elementary school, students often are taught to cultivate parts of plants in controlled conditions. In hobby and professional gardening, certain clippings can be tended to grow complete plants. Tissue culture is an extension of that general concept.

Plant tissue cultures are widely used in a variety of industries to produce clones of plants. This method is called micro-propagation. Different techniques for plant tissue culture can offer advantages over traditional propagation.

Benefits of Plant Tissue Culture

There are a number of benefits to using plant tissue cultures, including the ability to create exact copies in a quick way, create plants that are seedless or ensure their health.

  • Exact Copies: When seeking to produce a clone or exact copy of plants, micro-propagation is a way to separate specific traits such as succulent fruit, beautiful flowers and other desirable traits. 
  • Speed: Plant tissue culture projects can be grown much faster due to the controlled conditions than regular farm growing. This also allows for constant supervision. Recently, this speed has been brought into the domestic and restaurant market with hydroponics and other artificial methods of growing. 
  • Seedless: You can produce multiples of the same plant without seeds or pollinators. In areas where you do not get a long growing season or there is an absence of natural pollinators, you can still produce the same plants. 
  • Health: When growing plants in extremely controlled conditions, you can clear them of viral or bacterial infections that can completely ruin your crops. You can ensure that you only transplant healthy plants. 

Plant Tissue Culture Project Proposal

If you are working on a plant tissue culture business plan or trying to think of tissue culture project topics, consider the following types of projects that rely on this technology.

  • Modification: Plant tissue cultures can also help maintain and grow whole plants from cells that have been modified. Modifications can include making a stronger strain, such as bananas that are not susceptible to diseases. 
  • Sterile Containment: Growing plants in a lab with micro-cultures greatly reduces the chances of transmitting any pests, pathogens and diseases. When plants are isolated from possible contaminants, their growth can be closely monitored. 
  • Conservation: When you are working with plants that are grown through plant tissue cultures, you do not need seeds. This allows for the growth of plants that would otherwise not have a good chance of germinating either through environmental changes or through the loss of natural pollinators in their environment. Examples of these plants are nepenthes and orchids. 

How to Write a Scientific Proposal

With a solid understanding of what plant tissue culture is and why it is important in agriculture, it is a bit simpler to work on a scientific proposal on this topic. There are five different parts to all scientific proposals.

1. Scientific Proposal Abstract

Your abstract is the first — and sometimes the only — thing that people will read about your proposal. You will need to break down the important points of your proposal and outline it in a clear, succinct way.

Dedicate a few sentences to introduce the problem that you are researching, why the problem deserves research, your hypothesis and a brief summary of the experiments that you will be conducting. Another brief explanation needs to be dedicated to the conclusions that you expect to draw.

2. Introduction of Your Proposal

The introduction will be the second major portion of your proposal. This will discuss the background and why the problem you are investigating is significant. In the introduction, you will begin narrowing your focus from the general into the specifics of your study.

For example, if you want to discuss the role that a gene mutation plays in asthma development in fetuses, you first need to talk about the significance of asthma as a disease. For example: The CDC states that one in 13 people have asthma worldwide. Then you can discuss the genetic or familial connections to asthma. This should include at least a few graphics such as labeled text boxes to illustrate your point. Remember that you want people to be able to scan your proposal and have an idea of what it is about.

3. Hypothesis of Your Proposal

You should be doing hypothesis-driven research, meaning that there needs to be a testable hypothesis. In science, your hypothesis should be your proposed explanation for a phenomenon. To be considered a scientific hypothesis, you must be able to use the scientific method to test it. Your hypothesis needs to be focused, concise and have an extremely logical flow from your introduction.

An example would be, “I hypothesize that over-exposure to pollutant X to a fetus in vitro can create the presentation in allergy-induced asthma.” Your hypothesis should be kept in mind through your entire writing process. While you do not want to perform biased research, you do want your research and consequent proposal to be the focal point of your writing.

4. Objective of Your Proposal

You will want to propose, at most, two specific pathways to testing your hypothesis. You should never propose more than two intentions when you are working on a proposal because your research and subsequent report will require a great deal of time. Unless you are certain that you have the funding, backers and/or assistance that you will require, two is plenty.

Proposals are not usually read by other scientific minds, so you need to keep extensive scientific details to a minimum. You need enough for your potential investors to understand your proposal, but you do not need them to understand the minute details.

5. Acknowledgment of Problems

Many people mistakenly feel like if they focus at all on potential problems in their proposals, possible backers will be less interested in supporting their work. However, this can not be further from the truth. Acknowledging the problems that could arise in your project proves that you have a realistic understanding of your process.

You should be able to discuss the experiment objectively and propose your options in case your first method does not meet your objective. What could go wrong with your experiment? Are there any reasons why your experiment will not work? What can you do to make sure that you collect some data regardless of the results of the experiment?

What Reviewers are Looking For

Scientific experiments are significant because they do not always end up the way that you think they will. Some of the most influential scientific discoveries have been “mistakes.” How do you intend to resolve any issues that occur? What are other possible avenues can you pursue if your experiment does not work?

Reviewers of your proposal are not looking for something that will go exactly as presented. In fact, the absence of a possible problems section can signal to those reviewing your proposal that you have not done the right research. If a reviewer cannot see a way around potential pitfalls, then you have less of a chance to get funded than more complete proposals.

Potential Pitfalls and Alternative Strategies

This is a very important part of any proposal, and it is where you should discuss intricacies of the experiments you propose. Remember, no experiment is perfect. Are there any reasons why the experiments you proposed might not work? Why?

What will you do to resolve this? What are other possible strategies you might use if your experiment does not work? If a reviewer spots these deficiencies and you do not propose methods to correct them, your proposal will not get funded. Ideally, you will want to work with a mentor or team to write this section.