Agar is being used to solidify media for plant tissue culture since long. Both purity and type of agar or gelling agent influence the behaviour and growth of tissues in culture. The study using leaf disc explants of variety Samsun of tobacco compares adventitous shoot regeneration on 0.5 cm x 0.5 cm leaf discs cultured on MSD4X2 medium and rooting on MSO medium gelled with different blends of agar-isubgol, gelrite-isubgol, phytagel-isubgol or isubgol singly. It was found that irrespective of some problems associated with isubgol gel, the maximum number of shoot per explant were recorded on MSD4X2 medium gelled with 7 g/l isubgol. The longest shoots were recorded on MSD4X2 medium gelled with 9 g/l isubgol. Likewise, the highest number of roots were also recorded on MSO medium gelled with 7 g/l isubgol. For a given quantity of a medium, agar, gelrite/isubgol blends are very cheap compared to agar used singly. Moreover, blends of agar/isubgol, gelrite/isubgol gelled at low temperatures indicated safe use of these gels for heat labile substances in genetic transformation or tissue culture experiments. The results emphasized the potential of the isubgol used singly or in combination with agar and gelrite for economic commercial application, replacing the costliest, though not indispensable, gelling agent agar. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.