Flow hoods,Tissue culture of orchids from seeds using a flow hood
Flow hoods & Tissue culture
How to propagate orchids from seeds
If you have found this article then there is a good chance you are hooked on growing orchids, plants or interested in micropropagation tissue culture. If like me and you grow orchids you will soon be curiously looking in to how to propagate them, this is relatively easy to do by division or by keiki(baby). This may lead in to trying your hand at orchid flasking, this is the way to go to produce a large amount of orchid seedlings, but to achieve this most orchid seed will need to be treated and sown in sterile conditions on a sterile medium in jars( agar in flasks).
This can be done with an open or closed box, but for best results a flow hood or flow cabinet is needed. Flow cabinets are in the price range that is way out of reach for the majority of most growers and there really isn’t the need to spend that much unless it is for a commercial business thus is in use most days to be cost effective.
I am at this point, where I am trying my hand at producing a small number of my own orchid seedlings and have tried the open and closed box techniques without success. Basically these techniques are really fiddly!, I have to admit I didn’t really persevere after a few failures with contamination. This is when I came across www.standardhepafilter.com, the price of their flow hoods are a very realistic proposition and justifiable buy without breaking the bank.
So buy I did, the flow hood came in a box bigger than I thought it would, it was well protected and arrived in the best condition possible.
This flow hood is simple by design and a size that isn’t going to need a large space like a flow cabinet or some other home made flow hood designs on the internet I have seen.
The hepa filter on the front is top quality and framed with an aluminium trim, inside is a quality blower and prefilter, the blower intake is protected by metal mesh and another prefilter that does need to be attached yourself or just let the suction of the blower hold it in place like I do.
The hepa filter, blower and prefilter are housed basically in a casing made of lightweight cottonwood and is only 25,5cm deep.
The flow hood is well made, well finished, and is an added luxury if you can afford the small extra cost for the ready made flow hood, to take it out of the box and simply plug it in was a joy!
There are two sized ready made flow hoods available, 610mmX305mm and 610mmX484mm.
They also offer hepa filter and blower bundles available if you fancy making the casing yourself, the picture shows the blower and filter.
StandardHepa also sell many products that are needed for successful home tissue culture.The flowhood can be used with a closed working area that could be fixed to the front, I like to keep things as simple as possible so will use it as it comes and will report my progress.
I am very new to trying home tissue culture and not at a stage where I can claim bragging rights to achieving my own flasks so far, hopefully my success rate will be high with the use of this standard hepa filter flowhood, but is not guaranteed
I have tested the flow hood by leaving a flask open in the work area for 15 minutes and got no contamination, introducing seed in to the equation is another matter as the whole process is under pinned by maintaining sterile conditions and that can only happen with the correct protocol.
Please visit the www.standardhepafilter.com website and view their products for yourself, also come back here and revisit this article as I will be updating with my progress.
Technical information taken from the standard hepa website.
This filter is already assembled and ready to use. The working area is 610 x 484mm. This filter is conform with the H14 specifications: 99,995% of all particles (>0,3 µm) are absorbed. It is possible to to work nearly without contaminations with this filter. This filter is a long-life filter. In combination with the included prefiltration mat guarantees a long lifetime. The casing is made of lightweight cottonwood and only 25,5cm deep.
UPDATE – 28th November 2012 – Firstly I have tested the flow hood by leaving a flask open in the work space for 15 minutes. Contamination will quickly grow if any contamination has entered the flask.
UPDATE – 7th December 2012 – No contamination so far so seed sowing can commence soon!
UPDATE – 30th December 2012 – Still no contamination so I have just sown some Masdevallia seed and hopefully seedlings will be next to grow and not spores of badies!
UPDATE – 22nd January 2013 – No contamination which is a great sign that the flow hood is working and I sterilized the seed but no germination to date. There is still time!
UPDATE – 25th November 2013 – I am pleased to report that the very flasks I mention here still have no contamination and did in fact germinate! The Masdevallia seedlings are doing well actually looking like grass in the flask! I did also sow Paphiopedilum seed and these too have germinated an have no contamination. These have been done with this flowhood, and even though I haven’t sown many flasks my success rate is 100%. With my homemade setup I only managed 100% contamination, hence when I found and purchased this flowhood.
I have proved the www.standardhepafilter.com flow hood works and I would say is well worth the money. This product is far cheaper than investing in a laminar flow cabinet and would say cheaper than buying the components yourself and building.
The only thing I would recommend is to protect the front of the flow hoods hepa filter from dirt and dust, I simply put cling film over the front after every use! Go and treat yourself………