Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 85, Issue 1, pp 143–151 | Cite as

Analysis of the effect of plant growth regulators and organic elicitors on antibacterial activity of Eucomis autumnalis and Drimia robusta ex vitro-grown biomass

  • Ponnusamy Baskaran
  • Aloka Kumari
  • Johannes Van Staden
Original paper


The effects of plant growth regulators (PGRs) and organic elicitors (OEs) on in vitro propagation of Eucomis autumnalis was established. Three-year-old ex vitro grown plants from organogenesis of E. autumnalis and somatic embryogenesis (previously reported protocol) of Drimia robusta were investigated for antibacterial activity. In vitro propagation from leaf explants of E. autumnalis was established using different PGRs and OE treatments for mass propagation, biomass production and bioactivity analysis to supplement the use of wild plant material. Prolific shoots (16.0 ± 0.94 shoots per explant) were obtained with MS (Murashige and Skoog in Physiol Plant 15:473–497, 1962) medium containing 100 mg l−1 haemoglobin (HB), 10 µM benzyladenine (BA) and 2 µM naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA). The shoots were rooted effectively with a combination of 2.5 µM indole-3-acetic acid and 5.0 µM indole-3-butyric acid. The plantlets were successfully acclimatized in a vermiculite-soil mixture (1:1 v/v) in the greenhouse. Three-year-old ex vitro-grown E. autumnalis and D. robusta plants derived via organogenesis and somatic embryogenesis respectively exhibited antibacterial activity and varied with PGR and OE treatments, plant parts and bacteria. The leaves of E. autumnalis ex vitro-derived from a combination of HB, BA and NAA followed by the individual treatments of BA and HB gave the best antibacterial activities (< 1 mg ml−1: minimum inhibitory concentration from 0.098 to 0.78 mg ml−1) against all tested pathogenic bacteria (Bacillus subtilis, Enterococcus faecalis, Micrococcus luteus, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa). The bulbs of D. robusta ex vitro-derived from solid culture with 10 µM picloram, 1 µM thidiazuron and 20 µM glutamine exhibited good antibacterial activity against E. faecalis, M. luteus and S. aureus when compared with other treatments and mother plants. The ex vitro-grown E. autumnalis and D. robusta biomass produced with PGRs along with OE treatments confirmed a good potent bioresource and can be used as antibacterial agents. The in vitro plant regeneration of E. autumnalis and D. robusta protocols and ex vitro plants could be used for conservation strategies, bioactivity and traditional medicinal use.


Antibacterial activity Ex vitro plant Organogenesis Medicinal plant Somatic embryogenesis 



Financial support by the National Research Foundation (NRF), Pretoria and the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg are gratefully acknowledged.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ponnusamy Baskaran
    • 1
  • Aloka Kumari
    • 1
  • Johannes Van Staden
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development, School of Life SciencesUniversity of KwaZulu-NatalPietermaritzburgSouth Africa

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