Medicinal and Aromatic Plants : Strategies and Technologies for Conservation. Gene Bank For Medicinal And aromatic Plants At Tropical Botanic Garden And Research Institute- A State-Of- The Art Report


P. Pushpangadan, S. Seeni, Jacob Thomas, S. William Decruse, A. Mohandas, S.P. Mathew, A. Gangaprasad & R.K. Radha


Symposium 'State-of-the-Art Strategies and Technologies for Conservation of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants' held under the auspices of G-15 Gene Banks for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.




Medicinal and aromatic plants, simulated in situ field gene bank, seed bank, in vitro cultures, cryobank, phase I


As a sequel to the G-15 Countries' initiative, the Department of Biotechnology, Govt, of India sponsored the establishment of three National Gene Banks for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAP), one being located at the Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute(TBGRI), at Palode near Thiruvananthapuram. The major objectives of the Gene Bank at TBGRI are the organisation of germplasm collection of MAP from peninsular India and development of appropriate methods (Field Gene Bank, Seed Bank, Meristem Bank and Cryobank) for their ex situ conservation. Over 1680 accessions of 85 species nave so far been collected from the southern states of India (Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu. Kerala and Karnataka) and established in the Field Gene Bank which includes such special collections as 77 endemic plants, intraspecific plants of 38 rare and endangered species, 15 Piper species and 23 chemovariants of Cymbopogon flexuosus. To capture the maximum possible genetic variations of the target species, specialised sampling techniques including chemical prospecting were employed. The Field Gene Bank setup in the natural forest patch of the Institute's campus with 21 conservation plots and several sub-plots covering an approximate 50 acre area (selected on the basis of various micro-ecological niches available in the campus) is an excellent simulated in situ model acting as a viable link between the exsitu and insitu conservation practices. Seed banking was accomplished for 46 MAP as part of which 25 000 seedlings / seeds from working collectionss were distributed to NGOs, growers and traditional physicians. Mericloning through axillary bud proliferation route was achieved for 26 species, clonal uniformity being confirmed by esterase and peroxidase isozyme analysis. Incubation of 20°C together with the use of mannitol and reduced concentrations of macro and micronutrients of the medium helped to increase the shelf life of shoot cultures in 18 species to 9-24 months. Seeds of 8 species desiccated to 4-7 % moisture content showed 80-95 % germination rate after LN storage. Seeds of Embelia ribes were desiccation tolerant but LN sensitive. A 20-60 % recovery of the shoot tips of Holostemma adakodien was recorded after cryopreservation through encapsulation-dehydration method.