Improved tissue culture production of ginger clean planting material

The State of Queensland acting through the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

  • Project code: PRJ-008308

  • Project stage: Closed

  • Project start date: Sunday, June 1, 2014

  • Project completion date: Thursday, May 30, 2019

  • National Priority: GIN-High quality product and sustainable production systems


Disease free ginger rhizome is produced using tissue culture (TC) but there is a major shortage of supply & concern that TC derived rhizome is more susceptible to Fusarium wilt than conventional rhizome. This project aims to improve rhizome size, reduce cycle time and cost and improve disease tolerance so that more growers use clean planting material to improve production systems.
There is a need to identify and address current tissue culture clean seed production constraints. Limitations to access and uptake of TC rhizome are due in part to the extra year cycle needed where tissue culture plantlets must be grown under shade but produce inferior rhizomes that are used as seed for second year until commercial rhizome produced. There is also concern that the TC derived rhizome is more susceptible to Fusarium wilt.
This project will investigate if TC rhizome is more susceptible to the Fusarium wilt pathogen or a wider range of Fusarium species and if so develop strategies to overcome this. Research will also be undertaken in the tissue culture and nursery phase aiming to improve various steps in the production cycle.
Since growers are now suffering reoccurring and unsustainable crop losses due to the persistent soil borne diseases Pythium and Fusarium the Australian Ginger Growers’ Association has identified access to clean seed as one of its highest priorities. Because growers use their own rhizome to replant as well as sell to market, disease pressure has rapidly built so that most ginger farms are now contaminated.



Research Organisation

The State of Queensland acting through the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Objective Summary

1. Tissue culture & nursery production perspective.
Ginger tissue culture has current limitations due to extra year cycle where plants need to be grown under shade to produce inferior rhizomes used as seed for second year until commercial rhizome produced.
Due to seasonal timing and issue of ginger senescence there is a large loss of plants at deflasking if they are taken out too early but deflasking later under better growing conditions delays availability.
Improvements in tissue culture cycle/methodology can be investigated to improve rhizome size, reduce cycle and improve disease tolerance.
Two aspects of research to be undertaken to determine if improvements can be made in tissue culture production cycle.
Tissue culture research investigating media, light, temperature, sub culture method.
Nursery production research investigating time of year plants deflasked, type of explant deflasked, senescence, possibility to develop and evaluate micro rhizome for direct field planting.
2. Plant health perspective.
Are tissue culture plants more susceptible to Fusarium than conventional rhizome or are they infected via the production cycle?
To address the above we would aim to answer the following questions
-Are plants derived from tissue culture more susceptible to Foz than conventional rhizome?
-Are ginger plants susceptible to a wider range of F. oxysporum types (including other f.sp’s) and if so, is this influenced by whether the plant is derived from tissue culture or not?
-Is there pathogenic variation within Foz?
-Can plantlets or rhizome be inoculated with beneficial organisms to improve plant tolerance to Fusarium?