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Plant growth regulator induced phytochemical and antioxidant variations in micropropagated and acclimatized Eucomis autumnalis subspecies autumnalis (Asparagaceae)

Abstract

Eucomis species is a valuable plant with both medicinal and horticultural potential. The current study evaluated the role of plant growth regulator (PGR) on growth, phytochemicals, and antioxidant activity in Eucomis autumnalis subspecies autumnalis. Five cytokinins including topolins and benzyladenine (BA) at 2 µM in combination with varying (0–15 µM) concentrations of naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) were tested. In vitro regenerants were acclimatized in the greenhouse for 4 months. Highest number of shoots (9 shoots/explant) was observed with 15 µM NAA alone or when combined with BA. Acclimatized plants derived from the 15 µM NAA treatment had the highest number of roots, largest leaf area and biggest bulbs. While applied PGRs increased the iridoids and condensed tannins in the in vitro regenerants, total phenolics and flavonoids were higher in the PGR-free treatment. Among the in vitro regenerants, 5 µM NAA and 2 µM BA treatments produced the best antioxidant activity in the DPPH (55 %) and beta-carotene (88 %) test systems, respectively. A remarkable carry-over effect of the PGR was conspicuous in the phytochemical levels and antioxidant activity of the 4-month-old plants. In addition to the optimized micropropagation protocols, the current findings present a promising potential for manipulating the type and concentration of applied PGRs to improve phytochemical production and hence medicinal value in E. autumnalis subspecies autumnalis.

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Acknowledgements

Financial support from the National Research Foundation (NAM), Claude Leon Foundation (AOA) and University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa is appreciated. Dr. K. Doležal and the team at Laboratory of Growth Regulators, Palacký University and Institute of Experimental Botany AS CR, Czech Republic for providing the topolins. Mrs. Alison Young (UKZN Botanical Garden) and Dr. C. Potgieter (Bews herbarium) assisted with the greenhouse experiments and plant identification, respectively. We are grateful to Drs. M. Moyo and S.O. Amoo for their valuable suggestions on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Johannes Van Staden.

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Communicated by M. J. Reigosa.

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Masondo, N.A., Aremu, A.O., Finnie, J.F. et al. Plant growth regulator induced phytochemical and antioxidant variations in micropropagated and acclimatized Eucomis autumnalis subspecies autumnalis (Asparagaceae). Acta Physiol Plant 36, 2467–2479 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11738-014-1619-4

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Keywords

  • Asparagaceae
  • Auxins
  • Cytokinins
  • Medicinal plant
  • Phytochemicals
  • Phytohormones