The BTC of BNARI was created from the former Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. It is the first Biotechnology Centre to be established in Ghana. It is made up of the Animal Biotechnology Laboratory, Food Biotechnology Laboratory and the Plant Biotechnology Laboratory. BTC conducts research in cell biology, plant regeneration systems and molecular biology. The Centre has several scientists in various disciplines including tissue culturists, plant breeders, molecular biologist, plant virologist/pathologist and agronomist. The skilled professional scientists from the Centre teach plant tissue culture, plant physiology and molecular biology courses at the School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences(SNAS), University of Ghana, Atomic Campus. To enhance all these rich activities, the Centre has tissue culture and molecular biology laboratories which is well equipped with hi-tech equipment for all kinds of biotechnology research. The main research programmes include:

 

  1. Cell Biology and Plant regeneration
  • In vitro techniques for plant regeneration, multiplication and conservation.
  • Somatic embryogenesis for plant regeneration and mutant development
  • Genetic transformation of crops
  • Diagnosis of crop diseases
  • Molecular breeding including Marker Assisted Selection (MAS)

 

The Biotechnology Centre has contributed immensely towards Ghana’s agricultural development. The Centre played a pivotal role in the introduction of the MD2 Pineapple into the country when Ghana’s pineapple industry changed from the export of Smooth Cayene and Sugar Loaf to MD2 variety on the international market.  With its role as a leading producer of tissue culture planting materials in the country, BTC has developed efficient protocols for the micropropagation of staple food crops, tree and medicinal plants. Currently, pineapple, plantain, cocoyam, sugarcane and Bracharia (highly nitrogenous grass species) is being produced on large scale. All these crops have long propagation cycle, narrow genetic base and their seeds are often sterile making it difficult to obtain planting materials for farmers using the conventional techniques.

 

Horticulture

Most tree crops and ornamental plants of aesthetic value (flowers and shrubs) are recalcitrant to propagation techniques due to the nature of their seeds which makes them dormant. BNARI is developing both in vitro and in vivo propagation protocols for large scale multiplication of tree crops, ornamentals as well as medicinal plants. These include trees of high economic importance such as shea nut tree, medicinal trees such Alstonia, Rawulfia and ornamental plants. The project on the ornamental plants is being implemented with the Ghana Flower Growers Association.