Synthetic seed can be defined as the artificial encapsulation of somatic embryo, shoot buds or aggregates of cell or any tissues which has the ability to form a plant in in-vitro or ex vivo condition. Synthetic seeds can be stored for a long time in appropriate condition. Synthetic seed production and used technology is rapidly growing branch of seed biotechnology. Toshio Murashige in 1970 first coined the term synthetic seed.
Synthetic seed production requires the large scale production of viable plant material in lab condition using invitro culture system.

Production of Synthetic Seed:

1. Explant is selected from choice of plant
2. In a laboratory using tissue culture techniques callus is induced in the explants.
3. Using tissue culture techniques somatic embryo is induced in the callus.
4. Somatic embryo are proliferated
5. Histodifferentiation and maturation of somatic embryo
6. Desiccation and tolerance induction using tissue culture techniques.
7. Encapsulation of somatic embryo
8. Invitro germination or transported to field for germination.

Based on the techniques two types of synthetic seeds are produced such as desiccated and hydrated.

Desiccated synthetic seeds:

Desiccated synthetic seeds are produced nacked or polyoxyethylene glycol encapsulated somatic embryo. This type of synthetic seeds is produced in decciation tolerant species of plant.

Hydrated synthetic seeds:

Hydrated synthetic seeds are produced by encapsulating the somatic embryos in hydrogels like sodium alginate, potassium alginate, carrageenan, sodium pectate or sodium alginate with gelatine.

Encapsulation or synthetic seed or artificial seed are used to provide protection to the artificially produced propagules. Encapsulation technologies are used to produce artificial or synthetic seeds of species belonging to angiosperm and gymnosperm families.

Applications of Synthetic Seeds:

1. Hybrid plants can be easily propagated using synthetic seed technology

2. Genetically modified plant or crops can be propagated using synthetic seed technology.

3. Endangered species can be propagated using synthetic seed technology.

4. Elite genotype can be preserved and propagated using artificial seed technology.

5. Synthetic seed production is cost effective when compared to traditional method.

6. Synthetic seeds can be directly used in fields

7. Genetic uniformity is maintained by using synthetic seed technology.

8. Synthetic seeds can be transported from one country to another without obligations from quarantine department.

9. Cereals, fruits and medicinal plants can be studied anywhere in the world using synthetic seeds.

10. Synthetic seed transportation is easy as these do not contain any disease causing agents. As synthetic seeds are produced using sterile plant materials produced using plant tissue culture techniques.

11. Synthetic seeds are small therefore they are easy to handle.

12. Synthetic seed encapsulation provides aseptic condition to the plant material or explant, which is present inside the capsule.

13. While producing the synthetic seed encapsulation herbicides can be added to the formulation, this herbicide will provide extra protection to the explants against pests and diseases.

14. Synthetic seed plantation can be done by using the sowing farm machinery.

15. Synthetic seed crops are easy to maintain because of uniform genetic constituent.

16. This technology improves the food production and also produces environment friendly plantation.

About Author / Additional Info: