Scaling-up production and field performance of micropropagated medicinal herb ‘Safed Musli’ (Chlorophytum borivilianum)

Research paper by Ashish Dave, Geeta Bilochi, Sunil D. Purohit

Indexed on: 01 Jul '03Published on: 01 Jul '03Published in: In vitro cellular & developmental biology. Plant : journal of the Tissue Culture Association


Chlorophytum borivilianum Sant. et Fernand. (‘Safed Musli’), an endangered Indian medicinal herb, is valued for its tuberous roots reputed to have aphrodisiac properties. Farmers in India cultivate this medicinal herb on a commercial scale because of its high economic value. To cater to the growing demand for planting material, a highly reproducible field-tested and cost-effective micropropagation scheme has been developed. Best shoot multiplication was achieved on agargelled Murashige and Skoog medium containing 22.2 μM 6-benzylaminopurine (BA) and 3% sucrose. Phytagel™ at 0.2% showed slightly better response than BDH agar in terms of shoot multiplication, but the use of BDH agar was preferred due to its low cost. With the optimized conditions, more than 15 000 plantlets could be produced in 20 wk. Plantlets subjected to hardening under agro-shadenet conditions during the monsoon months of high humidity showed better survival rate and growth compared to plantlets hardened in vitro and subsequently transferred to the greenhouse for acclimatization. Rate of plantlet survival was 87 and 90% under open field and agro-shadenet conditions, respectively. Plantlets grown ex vitro under agro-shadenet and field conditions produced tuberous roots which could be grown in the next season as a secondary propagule. We concluded that in vitro production of ‘Safed Musli’ was cost-effective compared to conventional propagation and holds great potential for commercial production.