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Exploring plant tissue culture in Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal: in vitro propagation and secondary metabolite production

Exploring plant tissue culture in Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal: in vitro propagation and secondary metabolite production

Critical Reviews in Biotechnology 38(6): 836-850

ISSN/ISBN: 0738-8551

PMID: 29278928

DOI: 10.1080/07388551.2017.1416453

Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal (family: Solanaceae), commonly known as "Indian Ginseng", is a medicinally and industrially important plant of the Indian subcontinent and other warmer parts of the world. The plant has multi-use medicinal potential and has been listed among 36 important cultivated medicinal plants of India that are in high demand for trade due to its pharmaceutical uses. The medicinal importance of this plant is mainly due to the presence of different types of steroidal lactones- withanolides in the roots and leaves. Owing to low seed viability and poor germination, the conventional propagation of W. somnifera falls short to cater its commercial demands particularly for secondary metabolite production. Therefore, there is a great need to develop different biotechnological approaches through tissue and organ culture for seasonal independent production of plants in large scale which will provide sufficient raw materials of uniform quality for pharmaceutical purposes. During past years, a number of in vitro plant regeneration protocols via organogenesis and somatic embryogenesis and in vitro conservation through synthetic seed based encapsulation technology have been developed for W. somnifera. Several attempts have also been made to standardize the protocol of secondary metabolite production via tissue/organ cultures, cell suspension cultures, and Agrobacterium rhizogenes-mediated transformed hairy root cultures. Employment of plant tissue culture based techniques would provide means for rapid propagation and conservation of this plant species and also provide scope for enhanced production of different bioactive secondary metabolites. The present review provides a comprehensive report on research activities conducted in the area of tissue culture and secondary metabolite production in W. somnifera during the past years. It also discusses the unexplored areas which might be taken into consideration for future research so that the medicinal properties and the secondary metabolites produced by this plant can be exploited further for the benefit of human health in a sustainable way.

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Accession: 064129172

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