Frequently Asked Questions

Product Support

I purchased a product, and would like to know how to use it for my application. Do you have information on how to use your products for specific applications?

Any information that PhytoTechnology Laboratories can provide on how to use a product can be found in our Product Information Sheets. These documents can be found on the individual product page, or on our main website. Some of our products, such as our kits, will come with directions and/or general use information. Many of our products can be used in different types of applications, so we may not have information for every specific application. If you cannot find the information you are looking for, a scientific literature search will often times provide information on how to use the product in the same, or similar fashion. PhytoTechnology Laboratories cannot provide specific application usage advice for your research applications, as this is part of the development of the experiment, and we are not able to be involved in our customer's experimental set-up or methodologies.

I am looking for a Certificate of Analysis for my product lot, but cannot find it on your website.

You can find COA's for a specific product lot either on the homepage under COA's, or on the specific product's webpage. If the lot number you are searching for has a letter on the very end of it (far right-hand side), do not include this letter when performing a search on our website. This letter is for internal tracking purposes only and inclusion of this letter when searching for a COA may return no results. If you do not see your lot number's COA posted on our website, please contact our technical department (form information is under Contact Us) and we will send you one.

I purchased a product and I don't feel that it is working as it is supposed to or performing as it did when I've previously purchased this product.

Some of our products are biologically derived, such as antibiotics and some of our gelling agents. This causes some variability in qualities like potency and gel strength from lot to lot. We list these product qualities on our product labels and on our COA for your reference. However, if you feel that the product you've purchased is not working in the manner it is supposed to, please contact us. Our Quality Control Department conducts thorough physiochemical testing on each new product lot, ensuring that there is consistency between product lots. If you feel like a product is not performing the same, or the properties of the product have changed, please contact our technical department.

I have some products that I ordered from PhytoTech Labs a long time ago, and would like a Certificate of Analysis for an expiration date reference.

Depending on the age of the product, you may be able to find the COA for the product on our website. If not, please contact our Technical Department and we will provide one for you. We would like to note that the Shelf Life Dates that we list on our COA are not necessarily expiration dates. We use these dates to reassay a product if we still have stock of that lot when the Shelf Life Date arrives. If we do not have stock of that lot when the reassay date comes, then the product does not get retested, and the shelf life date is not updated. We recommend replacing a product if you observe a loss in activity or quality. However, many products are fit for use beyond their listed shelf life dates.

I purchased a product and the lot I received looks different from my previous lot of material. Is this new material alright to use for my research purposes?

Some chemicals have impurities in them that can cause a difference in appearance (color) from batch to batch. However, these impurities do not detrimentally affect the quality of the product. Each lot of product is thoroughly tested for consistency, so that we can provide a product that is reliable from lot to lot. If you ever have a question about product appearance, check the Certificate of Analysis (COA) on our website. The COA will tell you what the appearance was during quality control testing so that you can check to see if the material you received is similar in appearance to our specifications.If you are still unsure about a product's appearance, contact Technical Service for further assistance.

I would like more information about the product I purchased regarding its physical and chemical properties.

We provide Certificates of Analysis (COA) on our website, as well as Safety Data Sheets (MSDS/SDS) and Product Information Sheets for all of our products. If you cannot find the information you are looking for in any of these three documents, which can all be found on our website (Technical Info > Document Search), please contact Technical Service for additional assistance.

I am using your gelling agents as described in the product info sheets, and at an appropriate concentration for my media, but it does not gel after autoclaving (or heating) and allowing it to cool. Why won't my media gel?

There are multiple reasons why a gelling agent may not be gelling after autoclaving or heating. Here are some of the most common reasons why gelling agents don't gel: The pH of the media is too low (below 5.2). Often times, agars won't gel at low pH levels. The medium was autoclaved too long. The bonds between the agar molecules can break down if heated for too long, or at too high of a temperature/pressure. There are not enough salts present in the medium for the gelling agent to form bonds with. Certain gelling agents, such as gellan gums, require a minimum level of salts to be present in the medium in order to form a solid gel. This is most often a problem with low salt media, such as orchid seed sewing media. The calcium level is too high. Media such as Quoirin&Lepoivre Basal Salts and DKW contain high levels of calcium, which can inhibit gelling of agents such as gellan gums and PhytoTech'sAgargellan

What is the difference between your gelling agents and how do I know which one I should use?

In our technical information section, we provide literature that gives in-depth information about our gelling agents and the differences between them. Some of the differences in our gelling agents are:

  • The source of the gelling agent: Some gelling agents are derived from bacterial fermentation and some are derived from seaweed.
  • Clarity: Our gelling agents range from translucent to completely transparent.
  • Gel strength: Our gelling agents provide different gel strengths for different applications.

Some plants grow better in different gelling agents, but the most widely used is Agar (Prod # A111). Determining the best gelling agent for your application may require some trial and error. Checking the available literature is also helpful when determining what to use.

I am trying to eradicate a specific contaminant from my plant tissues. Do you provide protocols for the antimicrobials that you offer for this type of application?

Unfortunately, no. There are simply too many different microorganisms and ways to disinfest plant tissues that we are unable to offer protocols for this. We do provide some general information in the product information sheets and in our technical literature regarding antibiotics, but we suggest checking the scientific literature available for a protocol or method for this type of application.

I purchased some media from you, and it looks yellow. Is it still alright for use?

Yes. If this powder is still free-flowing it is fine for use. Many of our media are hygroscopic in nature. This means that when the powder is exposed to air, it absorbs water. This causes the powder to change from a white color to yellow. This reaction can also occur over time as the powder ages. It is advised that the container of media not be left open for extended periods of time when weighing, due to the hygroscopic nature of some of our products.

There are two things to look for when determining whether the media is no longer advisable for use:

  • If the powder has absorbed enough water to form clumps that do not easily break apart with pressure, and the powder is no longer free-flowing, then it is advisable to dispose of it. Some clumps in the media are alright, as long as they can still be easily broken apart.
  • If the powder does not fully go into solution, and causes a hazy appearance, this could be a sign that the powder is no longer fit for use. However, some of our media have a naturally hazy or slightly hazy appearance, due either to the inclusion of agar, or plant growth regulators that will not go into solution until heated/autoclaved. Please check our COA online to see if a slightly hazy, or hazy appearance is normal for your product if you ever have any doubts about what the solution appearance for this product should be.

I would like to obtain some plant tissues that are already sterile. Do you sell any sterile plant tissues to the public?

No. Our lab houses over 50 different types of plants used solely for quality control testing and research & development. The only situation where we provide sterile plant tissues is for some of our tissue culture kits.

I have placed an order online, how quickly will my order be shipped?

Most shipments will ship within 1-4 business days of receipt unless items are noted as backordered in your shopping cart. Backordered items will each vary on shipping times, please contact customer service to find out more information on a backordered item. The delivery time will vary based on the shipping method chosen and the distance the shipment will travel. Please note: we will avoid shipping temperature sensitive items over the weekend. This may cause an order to be held for shipment until the following Monday or the shipping method may be changed.

Can I use these products on people?

NO! Products sold by PhytoTechnology Laboratories® are intended for plant research and laboratory use only. These products are not to be used as human or animal therapeutics, cosmetics, agricultural or pesticidal products, food additives, or as household chemicals.

I purchased your product and could you tell me how much I should add to reach a certain concentration?

We get this question quite often. Conversions can get tricky every now and then. Fortunately, there are many websites available to help convert units, or help calculate amounts to figure out how much you should be adding to reach your desired concentration. Simply perform a search for what calculation you are trying to do, and there is almost always someone else who has had the same question, or has provided a general method to perform the calculation you're looking for.

Technical Support

I do not see the specific media formulation that I need on your website. Is it possible to make a custom order to have a media made for me?

Yes! Our minimum order is generally for 100 liters of media (depending on the amount to add per liter of water). If your medium is a proprietary formulation, we will agree to a confidentiality contract to keep your formulation confidential. We have a very useful Custom Media tool that allows you to generate a quote through the website. Just click Contact Us at the top of the page and load the Custom Media Quotation Request form and from there you can create a formulation from scratch, or modify an existing formulation! Once completed send the request form to us for your custom quote.

Hi I need to autoclave Keiki paste, is that ok?

We do not recommend autoclaving Keiki Paste (Prod. no. K424) as it is a lanolin-based emulsion. Heating it may cause cause the emulsion to break down which would likely reduce (or eliminate) the product's performance.

Customer Service

Are there any discounts available?

We have a few different kinds of discounts available. If you purchase any package size in multiple amounts (a minimum of 10 units) we have quantity discounts depending on how much you purchase. To see the price differences you can add your desired amount into your online shopping cart and the prices will reflect any appropriate discounts for that quantity.

We also occasionally have sales and specials available on certain items that will be advertised across the website on occasion. We also have discounts built into the prices for our larger package sizes. For example, a 500 each package size will be more cost effective than purchasing 5 of our 100 each package sizes for that same product.

Can I purchase media in powdered form?

Most of our media is in powdered form. When you see package sizes of 1L, 10L, 50L, etc. these contain the amount of powder necessary to make up that quantity of media. Each bottle is labeled with the amount of powdered media to use per 1L of liquid should you wish to weigh out and make smaller batches than the package size you received. All liquid products are labeled as 'solution' in the product name and have a Liquid icon on the product page for quick reference.

Do you have a paper catalog you can send me?

At this time the only catalog we have is in electronic format. It can be viewed online here:  2016 PhytoTechnology Laboratories Catalogue

What payment methods are available?

We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. We also accept electronic wires and ACH payments. Please contact customer service at for further banking instructions if you would like to pay by wire or ACH.

I need a formalized quote for my accounting department, how do I get one?

You can get a quote on our website including shipping but if you need a formalized quote you can request one by emailing our customer service department at Please be sure to include your shipping address, your item list including product IDs, quantities, and package sizes, as well as your desired shipping method. Please allow 5-7 business days for pricing and shipping calculations.

How many grams are in the various 1L, 10L, 50L, and 100L package sizes?

This will vary from item to item because the amounts will be different for different media. Typical media working concentrations can be found on the certificates of analysis, SDS, and Product Information Sheets posted on our website on each product page.

How do I set up a Net 30 account?

Please contact our customer service department at for the credit approval process. This is only available for US customers. Please be aware that it can take some time. If there is a time limit on when you will need an order, we recommend prepaying with a credit card so that we can process your order immediately.

Can I email my order request?

Yes, please send your order request to Please be sure to include your billing address, shipping address, product ID (product number), product quantity, product package size, as well as your preferred method of shipping. Also, we do not recommend emailing credit card information. If prepaying with a credit card, please call or fax this information.

Phone: 1.913.341.5343 or 1.888.749.8682 (USA only)

Fax: 1.913.341.5442 or 1.888.449.8682 (USA only)

How will I receive my credit card receipt and tracking information for my order?

You will receive your credit card receipt and tracking information by email the day your order ships. We process your order and credit card in house so you will not be charged by our website. We will run your credit card the day your order ships, once we have your order packaged and the exact shipping costs calculated. You can find your FedEx tracking number on the front of your credit card receipt as well as in your automated FedEx confirmation email.

Do you sell your products to hobbyists and individuals or only to companies and institutions?

Yes, we can sell our products to individuals as well as companies and institutions. We also have no minimum order amount.

How do I return an item?

Not all items are available for return. Please contact customer service at for return authorization.

How do I request a product I do not see in your catalogue?

If you would like to see an item added to our catalogue please send your request by email to

Do you charge sales tax?

We only charge sales tax on customers within the state of Kansas and Indiana. If you are with a tax exempt organization we will not charge sales tax.

What are your hours of operation?

We are open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Central time, Monday through Thursday. We are open on Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Our shipping department is not open on Friday.

I have placed an order online, but would like a status update. Who do I contact?

Please allow at least 24-48 hours for order acceptance and to be contacted regarding backordered items. If more than 2 business days have passed since your order submitted, please feel free to contact to request a status update.


How are shipping costs calculated?

Shipping costs are calculated by weight, box size, and destination (time in transit). Our centrally located facility allows for most ground shipments to reach both US coasts within three days.

Can hazardous items be sent to my residence?

We are unable to ship hazardous products to residential addresses, unfortunately.

Can I use my own FedEx account number for shipping?

Yes, we can ship your order to you using your FedEx account number. There will be a handling fee to cover the cost of the packaging. When placing your order online, please be sure to note if you would like to use your FedEx account number as well as your preferred method of shipping in the special instructions field. Please note, the only time we cannot use your FedEx account number is when we ship hazardous items as we are required to use our account number for hazardous shipments.

I am planning on purchasing a product, but not sure if the customs in my country will accept the product due to the nature of the product, or components within the product. How can I know whether my country's customs will accept this product when it ships

In order to check whether your country's customs department will allow our products into the country, you will have to contact your custom's department directly. Each country should have contact information for their customs department. PhytoTechnology does not have customs information for each country. If you are concerned that your shipment will not make it through your country's customs, please contact them prior to purchase to ensure that your order will make it safely to you without being held in customs. We can ship to most places around the world, but it will be the responsibility of the customer to have all paperwork (licenses and permits) necessary to receive the products as well as pay for the duties and taxes upon arrival of the shipment.

I would like to get a shipping quote. How do I go about doing this?

Our website will give you a good idea of what your shipping costs will be. Simply choose the products you would like to purchase, and then go to your cart. There is an option to generate an estimated shipping quote based on the amount of products being purchased and your location. If you do not want to purchase these goods at that time, you can simply close your browser (or tab).

Why is there an additional charge with some hazardous package sizes?

While most hazardous products are safer to ship in smaller quantities, not incurring an extra product handling fee, other larger package sizes ship on their own and require a set hazardous handling fee as set by the Department of Transportation.

If you are ordering a hazardous liquid product, a standard vermiculite fee will be added to any package size ordered and larger package sizes may have a hazardous product and vermiculite fee.

I would like to purchase a product of yours, but the shipping is expensive due to an expedited shipping requirement because it's a frozen item or a cooler item. Do I have to use the recommended method of shipping?

For frozen and cooler items, you may specifically choose another shipping method such as ground or 2-day; however, PhytoTechnology Laboratories will not be held responsible for any damage to the product quality due to the exposure to heat or any other atmospheric properties during shipping. If you choose a shipping method that is not recommended and your product deteriorates in transit we will be unable to issue a refund or replace the item. We use faster methods of shipping as well as dry ice and blue ice for temperature sensitive items because we believe they are necessary to ensure the product quality once it reaches the customer. Anything shipping on dry ice will need to be shipped by a priority service in order to be effective. Each item is different based on its storage temperature. This information can be found on our website on the product's individual page.

I received the product I ordered, but it is a freezer item and it had thawed by the time I had received it. Is the product still alright for use? (US Shipments only)

Products that need to remain frozen are shipped on dry ice by priority overnight service. For freezer solutions that do not need to be shipped on dry ice, the brief exposure to warmer temperatures during shipping will not detrimentally affect the product. However, we do advise that freezer items should be placed in a non-frost free freezer as soon as they are received.

Tissue Culture (Methods and Techniques)

Do you have a protocol that you can recommend for surface sterilizing plant tissues for tissue culturing?

Unfortunately every plant tissue is different in this respect. Many plant tissues can be disinfested using a dilution of household chlorine bleach in water with a wetting agent such as Tween 20® (product # P720). The concentration of bleach used and the exposure time to the bleach solution will vary based on many factors such as: type of plant tissue, age of plant tissue, time of year the tissues were collected (if outside), etc. These variables make it difficult to recommend any one protocol for tissue disinfestation.

We recommend doing a literature search to see if someone has published a method or protocol for your plant species, or a similar species. If the amount of plant tissues available is limited, it is recommended to start with a low concentration of bleach to reduce the chances of severely damaging the plant tissues. There are also other methods that use solutions such as VinOxide (combination of peroxide and vinegar) or NaDCC (product # D253) for disinfestation of tissues.

I am trying to grow a specific plant species and need to know what culture media to use. What do you recommend?

Some of our products are intended for specific plant species, and others can work for a variety of plant species. Depending on your plant species, we may be able to recommend a media, but more than likely you will have to figure out what your plant needs. There are many available resources that can provide information on what type of medium your plant species works well with, and possibly also the plant growth regulators necessary for optimal growth. We do not keep protocols on hand for many plant species, so most times we are unable to recommend a specific plant media, especially if it is a rare or very unique plant. We do have literature available in our technical literature section that may assist in choosing media for plants like orchids.

Can I use a microwave to sterilize my culture vessels/medium?

Microwave ovens are popular among hobbyists as a means to try to sterilize equipment and media. However, for research or production we do not recommend the use of a microwave for this application. There are some microorganisms, and especially their heat-resistant sports that can survive the boiling point of water (100 °C), which is why pressure is necessary to raise the sterilization temperature above boiling to 121 °C (250 °F) to fully sterilize equipment and media.

I purchased a product from you, but I do not own a scale/balance for measuring. Can you tell me approximately how much I should add in terms of teaspoons or tablespoons?

We do not recommend estimating amounts of components with these kinds of utensils due to the fact that chemicals have different densities. Therefore, we cannot possibly give an accurate estimate of how much to add using measuring utensils other than a scale/balance or pipettes. We sell some different types of balances for these kinds of applications and we recommend that anyone doing micropropagation or research invest in one, as it will reduce measuring errors.

My cultures have become contaminated, can you advise me as to what type of antibiotics to use to get rid of this contaminant?

Unfortunately, without knowing what the microorganism it is it is difficult to determine how to treat it to control or eliminate it. There are labs that will identify microorganism samples, but they are expensive and it takes time. Also, there are some microorganisms that require a combination of antibiotic treatments to eliminate them. Unfortunately, some of these treatments can be very detrimental to plant tissues and may result in killing the plants long before it kills the contaminant.

In these situations, our recommendation is to first try to eliminate all microorganisms by effectively disinfesting (surface sterlizing) the tissues, e.g., 10% bleach solution with a wetting agent, such as Tween 20® (Prod # P720) instead of trying to come up with an antibiotic regime.

I am trying to set up a tissue culture lab. Can PhytoTech Labs assist me with the layout and tell me what supplies I will need?

Every tissue culture lab is different based on the intended research or production to be conducted there. We do not provide assistance in this area as the set-up is very dependent on the user's requirements. We do provide a technical document online that outlines some of the basic supplies used in setting up a lab. We also sell the book 'Plants from Test Tubes' by Lydiane Kyte and John Kleyn which discusses some of the things to consider when setting up a tissue culture lab.