Introduction

The Biotechnology Centre (BTC) was created from the former Department of Plant and Soil Sciences (DPSS) in the year 2013. BTC is currently one of the six centres of the Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute (BNARI) It is made up of mainly the Tissue Culture and the Molecular Biology Laboratories.  The staff strength of the BTC currently stands at 26, comprising eleven Scientists (consisting of five PhD holders), five Technologists, one Technician, two Production Assistants, three Gardeners and two Administrative staff. Scientists and Technical staff of BTC have impressive expertise and years of rich experience in the following research areas; plant tissue culture, molecular biology, plant virology, plant physiology, molecular and mutation breeding. The BTC focuses and undertakes research and commercialization activities in these fields to complement the use of nuclear science and related technologies for the enhancement of sustainable agricultural production and industrialization in Ghana towards the ultimate goal of achieving national prosperity and well-being.

Vision

To be Ghana’s leading public institution that provides solutions to challenges in agriculture, health and industry through exploration and exploitation of scientific knowledge in biotechnology and nuclear science.

Mission

BNARI exists to carry out research and development activities on safe applications of biotechnology and nuclear science and transfer these technologies to end-users in order to enhance agricultural productivity, health delivery and industrialisation. In pursuit of these, BNARI will build strategic alliances and partnership with national, regional and international bodies to assist Ghana fulfil her obligations on the safe applications of biotechnology and nuclear science

Mandate

BTC is mandated to develop protocols for the micro-propagation of food crops, and medicinal and ornamental plants and use molecular, nuclear, and related techniques for crop improvement to enhance agricultural productivity.

Research Activities

  1. Plant Tissue Culture

 

Development of efficient in vitro protocols for mass production of clean planting materials of food (Plantain, Cocoyam, Pineapple, Sweet potato Sugarcane) medicinal (Aframomum melegueta, Capparis erythrocarpos, Phyllanthus niruri) and ornamental plants (Heliconia, Caladium, Bromeliard, Orchids).

 

  1. Molecular Genetic Diversity Research

Research on plant genetic diversity among germplasm using molecular markers to provide opportunity for plant breeders to develop new and improved cultivars with desirable characteristics.

 

  1. Plant Pathology Research

Plant Pathology research at the BTC focusses on pathogen identification and genetic diversity, disease surveillance and the development of plant disease management strategies.

 

  1. Cassava improvement programme: Development of improved Pro-vitamin A as well as cassava mosaic disease resistance cassava varieties. Other traits of importance such as disease resistance and early maturing are being developed through tissue culture and molecular genetics-assisted techniques, mutation induction and hybrid development.

 

  1. Plantain Improvement Programme: Improvement in methods of mass production of planting material and research to efficiently enhance various aspects of the production and utilization of the crop using mutagenesis and molecular genetics techniques.

 

  1. Tree crop (Shea, Coconut and Cola) improvement research: Improvement in germination and development of efficient micro-propagation techniques for rapid mass production of planting materials.

Commercialization Activities

  1. Production of disease-free tissue culture planting materials
  2. Diagnostics of plant disease-causing agents eg. Viruses

Training/Consultancy

Training in tissue culture techniques, basic molecular biology techniques, plant disease diagnostics, induced mutation and molecular breeding techniques.

Achievements

  1. BTC played a pivotal role in the introduction of the MD2 pineapple into Ghana through mass propagation of planting materials for pineapple growers.
  2. Successful development of efficient in vitro protocols for the micropropagation of staple food crops (plantain, taro, sweet potato), tree (shea) and medicinal plants (Aframomum).
  3. The BTC has trained over 1000 undergraduate and post graduate students and IAEA fellows from other African countries and the Caribbean.
  4.  

Partners/Collaborators

  1. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Vienna, Austria
  2. Public and Private Universities (University of Ghana, Legon, University, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi and University of Science and Technology)
  3. Research Institutions (Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana, Center for Research into Plant Medicine, Mampong)
  4. Farmer Associations

Directory

The Centre Manager,

Biotechnology Centre (BTC)
BNARI-GAEC

P. O. Box AE 50, Atomic-Accra, Ghana Or

P. O. Box LG 80, Legon-Accra, Ghana
Email: btc.bnari@gaec.gov.gh