Somatic Embryogenesis in Centella asiatica, a Valuable Medicinal Plant

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  • 1 Fort Valley State Univ., Agricultural Research Station, Fort Valley, GA 31030-4313
  • | 2 Fort Valley State Univ., Agricultural Research Station, Ft. Valley, GA 31030-4313
  • | 3 Fort Valley State Univ., Agricultural Research Station, Fort Valley State Univ., GA 31030-4313

Centella asiatica L. (Apiaceae family), also called `Indian Pennywort,' is a prostrate, faintly aromatic, and stoloniferous perennial herb with long petiolated leaves. In the Ayurvedic medicine, it is reputed as a nervine tonic along with antibacterial, antifeedant, antileprotic and wound healing properties. Centella contains glycosides, indocentelloside, brahmoside, and asiaticoside. Its leaves are rich in carotenoids and vitamins B and C. In vitro culture techniques which offer a viable tool for mass propagation of plants have recently become increasingly popular for conservation of rare, endangered and threatened medicinal plants germplasm. Centella tissue culture has been reported to experience high incidences of microbial contamination which drastically reduces survival of explants. Thus, the main purpose of this study was to develop an efficient micropropagation technique for Centella asiatica to reduce explant contamination and rapidly disseminate superior clones for research and production. Here we present induction and further development of somatic embryos, using Centella stolons as explants. Somatic embryos were induced in response to 2,4-D shock on MS medium. Initially, somatic embryos appeared as highly nodular callus and eventually developed into somatic embryos that exhibited globular, heart shaped and cotyledonary stages. After auxin shock, cultures were regularly transferred to MS basal medium where somatic embryos completed various developmental stages and then germinated to give rise to new plantlets. In this presentation, we will demonstrate complete protocols for the successful sterilization of Centella explants prepared from plants that had abundance of fungal and bacterial contamination.

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