Conservation and multiplication of an endangered medicinal plant – Caralluma arabica – using tissue culture
Caralluma arabica N.E.Br. (Asclepiadaceae) is a succulent, perennial herb that grows in arid regions, in West Asia and in the Middle East, including Oman and the United Arab Emirates. This plant is highly valued for its medicinal properties, and is commonly used in the preparation of traditional medicine for the treatment of diabetes, liver ailments, and painful and inflammatory conditions (1). Pharmacological studies revealed that C. arabica extract has anti-nociceptive, anti-gastric ulcer, cytoprotective, and anti-inflammatory properties (1, 2). Unfortunately, this plant is facing considerable pressures which threaten its survival. Therefore, the development of a protocol for the propagation of C. arabica in vitro is of high importance for the conservation of this species and its commercial cultivation. Plant regeneration via organogenesis was initiated for C. arabica using stem segments excised from young shoots and used as explants for in vitro culture. Stem explants were cultured on Murashige and Skoog (MS) (3) medium containing different concentrations of kinetin and indol-acetic acid (IAA). Preliminary results showed that differentiation of adventitious shoots was initiated within 5 weeks of culture on a medium containing 1 mM Kinetin and 3 mM IAA. Root induction was obtained on half-strength MS medium containing Indol-3-butyric acid. Further investigation is underway to establish optimal culture conditions for the regeneration of this important medicinal plant.
References: 1. Zakaria et al. (2001)J. Ethnopharmacol 76(2): 155–158
2. Zakaria et al. (2002) Pharmaceutical Biology 40(3): 225–230
3. Murashige, Skoog (1962) Physiol Plant 15: 473–497