Red laser-mediated alterations in seed germination, growth, pigments and withanolide content of Ashwagandha [Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal

Thorat, S.A.; Poojari, P.; Kaniyassery, A.; Kiran, K.R.; Satyamoorthy, K.; Mahato, K.K.; Muthusamy, A.

Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology. B Biology 216: 112144


ISSN/ISBN: 1873-2682
PMID: 33556702
DOI: 10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2021.112144
Accession: 072435394

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Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal, generally well-known as Ashwagandha, is part of Indian traditional medicinal systems like Ayurveda, Siddha, and Unani for over 3000 years for treating an array of disorders. The chief bioactive component of this plant is the withanolides, a group of C28-steroidal lactone triterpenoids. These compounds are present in very low concentrations and hence cell culture methods have been used to enhance their production. Low-level laser irradiation has been reported to have elicited the seed germination, agronomical characters, biosynthesis of bioactive compounds in some plants. Therefore, the objective of the study was to investigate the effect of red (He-Ne) laser irradiation on seed germination, growth characters, pigment contents and withanolide content in W. somnifera. The seeds were inoculated onto two different combinations of Murashige and Skoog (MS) media and incubated for germination. The highest germination percentage was observed in ½ MS with pH 6.5 and GA3 presoaking followed by ½ MS with different pH. Four different doses of Helium-Neon (He-Ne) laser (10, 15, 20 and 25 J/cm2) were used to irradiate the seeds at 632.8 nm and germinated in vitro on ½ MS with pH 6.5. The maximum germination percentage, 63.88% was noted from seeds irradiated with 25 J/cm2 (P = 0.04). The highest total length of 13.33 cm was observed in the seedlings irradiated with 25 J/cm2 groups (P = 0.008). The highest total chlorophyll content of 329.5 μg/g fresh weight (FW) was observed for seedlings irradiated with 15 J/cm2 (P = 0.02) and the highest carotenoid content of 49.6 μg/g FW was observed for 25 J/cm2 treated seedlings. Further, primary root length was measured and found to be highest (11.14 cm) in seedlings irradiated with 10 J/cm2 and the highest number of lateral roots were observed for 15 and 25 J/cm2 groups. The significant amount of Withanolide A (WA) 0.52 μg/g dry weight (DW) and 0.60 μg/g DW was noted in 15 (P = 0.01) and 20 J/cm2 (P = 0.002) groups, respectively than control. The present investigation thus reveals the positive impact of red laser on the germination of seeds, growth characters and withanolide contents under in vitro environment.