Both C-Fern gametophytes and sporophytes are easy to culture in the classroom or in a research environment can be axenically cultured on simple inorganic media in Petri dishes.
Because they are free-living and autotrophic, easy and foolproof culture techniques allow both gametophytes and sporophytes to be conveniently cultured and manipulated with minimal training and equipment. These procedures comprise a valuable introduction to general sterile technique that can then be applied to more demanding plant or animal cell culture.
C-Fern Culture Media
C-Fern Basic Culture Media can be obtained pre-made or readily prepared using the commercially available powdered form or made from scratch using self-made stock solutions. Premade media needs only to be melted in a boiling water bath while powdered media or that prepared from scratch requires autoclaving for sterilization. Once medium is prepared, it is dispensed into sterile petri dishes. Because the media does not contain a carbohydrate source, such as sucrose, the likelihood of contamination is greatly reduced and only simple precautions are needed to insure clean cultures.
Inoculating C-Fern Cultures
Inoculating cultures with C-Fern spores is easy! C-Fern spores are available pre-sterilized in pre-measured units and cultures can be inoculated by simply adding sterile water and dispensing the spore suspension onto the surface of the nutrient medium. For large scale experiments or large courses, bulk amounts of spores are also available. Bulk spores come unsterilized, but can be surface sterilized as needed with a simple and rapid procedure.Once inoculated, cultures of C-Fern cultures are ready to go under lights to initiate growth and development. They require little maintenance. Petri dishes are placed in a Culture Dome (a plastic tray with a clear cover) or C-Fern Growth Pod and placed under continuous illumination by a simple fluorescent lighting fixture. Growth Pods and Culture Domes also make handling a number of cultures easier, reduce the possibility of contamination and buffer against changes in room temperature and humidity. By maintaining cultures within a closed Growth Pod or Culture Dome, distance from the lighting fixture can be adjusted to approach an optimum temperature within the culture container of about 28 °C.