Role In Vitro Techniques In The Conservation And Domestication Of Medicinal And aromatic Plants


Aziah Mohd Yusoff, Asiah Osman, Nor Hasnida Hassan, Halilah Khafidz, Haliza Ismail & Fadhilah Zainudin.


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, conservation, in vitro propagation, domestication


The tropical rain forest of Malaysia is endowed with a diversity of higher plants, including plants with medicinal and aromatic values. Currently, these plants are collected from the wild. Over exploitation due to increase in demand will lead to extinction of this valuable resource. Efforts are geared towards conservation of this natural heritage. The import values of medicinal plants for pharmaceutical uses indicated an increase from RM54 million in 1990 to RM64 million in 1995. There was a decline in the export of this resource between 1990 to 1992, when RM3 3 million in 1990 were exported as compared to RM1A million in 1992. The decrease in export value can be attributed to the lack of supply. Propagation and domestication of medicinal plants are essential in ascertaining adequate and consistent supply to meet local demands In vitro techniques can be utilised in the propagation and conservation of plants. Among the in vitro techniques used are cryopreservation or cryostorage and slow growth storage. Domestication of plants with medicinal values can lead to large scale planting and adequate supply of plants can be obtained through tissue culture methods. Plants can be propagated by in vitro techniques via axillary shoots development, adventitious shoots formation and through somatic embryogenesis. Micropropagation of Aquilaria malaccensis has been developed using nodal segments from in vitro germinated seedlings. Preliminary in vitro studies on callus development in Eurycoma longifolia has also been initiated The prospects of in vitro techniques in propagation and conservation of plants with medicinal and aromatic values are wide.