Chlorophytum amaniense Engl. is native to the rain forests of east Africa (Dress, 1961). There is only one cultivar in this species, commonly known as ‘Fire Flash’; other names include Fire Glory, Mandarin Plant, Sierra Leone Lily, and Tangerine. C. amaniense ‘Fire Flash’ was recently introduced commercially as an exotic ornamental foliage plant (Chen et al., 2005) and enjoys considerable market success.
‘Fire Flash’ has a self-heading and upright growing style, broad lanceolate leaves, and bright coral-colored midribs and petioles (Fig. 1A). The unique coral-colored petioles and midribs contrasting with dark green leaves make it a sought after cultivated foliage plant specimen. Another important characteristic of ‘Fire Flash’ is its ability to tolerate interior conditions under a low light level of 8 μmol·m−2·s−1 for 8 months or longer (Chen et al., 2005).
As a result of its unique color and adaptation to low light levels, ‘Fire Flash’ production has been dramatically increased since its introduction. Unlike C. comosum (Thunb.) Jacques (Spider Plant), ‘Fire Flash’ does not produce stolons, and no small plantlets are produced from its apex and node. Propagation through seed and division has not met the growing demand for starting materials. Commercial tissue culture laboratories have begun producing liners for the ornamental plant industry; however, single liner plugs frequently develop multiple shoots after transplanting, resulting in unsalable plants with small distorted leaves (Fig. 1B). Thus, a new and reliable protocol for regenerating high-quality ‘Fire Flash’ liners is needed.
In addition to ornamental value, the rhizomes of ‘Fire Flash’ form nearly oval tubers, which may contain antitumor steroidal saponins as do other species of Chlorophytum Ker Gawl. Steroidal saponins have been isolated from C. arundinaceum Baker (Tandon and Shukla, 1997), C. borivilianum Sant. & Fernan. (Seth et al., 1991), C. comosum (Mimaki et al., 1996), and C. malayense Ridl. (Qiu et al., 2000) and have shown cytotoxicity in vitro against several human cancer cell lines (Mimaki et al., 1996).
Previous research on regeneration of Chlorophytum has primarily focused on C. borivilianum and C. arundinaceum, traditional medicinal plants. In vitro propagation methods were initially established using shoot explants (Dave et al., 2003; Kemat et al., 2010; Purohit et al., 1994; Suri et al., 1999) based on Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium (Murashige and Skoog, 1962) fortified with BA. Later, direct organogenesis methods were developed from immature floral buds and inflorescence axis (Samantaray et al., 2009; Sharma and Mohan, 2006) using MS medium containing BA or kinetin (KN) with 2,4-D, indole-3-acetic acid, NAA, or indole-3- butyric acid. Direct organogenesis methods were also developed from shoot crown explants (Lattoo et al., 2006) and from immature inflorescences of C. arundinaceum (Samantaray et al., 2009). However, there has been no documentation regarding methods of regeneration for C. amaniense.
This study was intended to evaluate the responses of leaf and sprouted seed explants to different combinations of growth regulators and to develop a new and reliable method for regeneration of C. amaniense liners with high quality for commercial ornamental and pharmaceutical production.
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