Plant growth regulator induced phytochemical and antioxidant variations in micropropagated and acclimatized Eucomis autumnalis subspecies autumnalis (Asparagaceae)

Research paper by Nqobile A. Masondo, Adeyemi O. Aremu, Jeffrey F. Finnie, Johannes Van Staden

Indexed on: 14 Jul '14Published on: 14 Jul '14Published in: Acta physiologiae plantarum / Polish Academy of Sciences, Committee of Plant Physiology Genetics and Breeding


Eucomis species is a valuable plant with both medicinal and horticultural potential. The current study evaluated the role of plant growth regulator (PGR) on growth, phytochemicals, and antioxidant activity in Eucomis autumnalis subspecies autumnalis. Five cytokinins including topolins and benzyladenine (BA) at 2 µM in combination with varying (0–15 µM) concentrations of naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) were tested. In vitro regenerants were acclimatized in the greenhouse for 4 months. Highest number of shoots (9 shoots/explant) was observed with 15 µM NAA alone or when combined with BA. Acclimatized plants derived from the 15 µM NAA treatment had the highest number of roots, largest leaf area and biggest bulbs. While applied PGRs increased the iridoids and condensed tannins in the in vitro regenerants, total phenolics and flavonoids were higher in the PGR-free treatment. Among the in vitro regenerants, 5 µM NAA and 2 µM BA treatments produced the best antioxidant activity in the DPPH (55 %) and beta-carotene (88 %) test systems, respectively. A remarkable carry-over effect of the PGR was conspicuous in the phytochemical levels and antioxidant activity of the 4-month-old plants. In addition to the optimized micropropagation protocols, the current findings present a promising potential for manipulating the type and concentration of applied PGRs to improve phytochemical production and hence medicinal value in E. autumnalis subspecies autumnalis.

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