Physiology and Molecular Biology of Plants

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 79–86 | Cite as

Propagation through alginate encapsulation of axillary buds of Cannabis sativa L. — an important medicinal plant

  • Hemant LataEmail author
  • Suman Chandra
  • Ikhlas A. Khan
  • Mahmoud A. ElSohly
Research Article


Cannabis sativa L. (Cannabaceae) is an important medicinal plant well known for its pharmacologic and therapeutic potency. Because of allogamous nature of this species, it is difficult to maintain its potency and efficacy if grown from the seeds. Therefore, chemical profile-based screening, selection of high yielding elite clones and their propagation using biotechnological tools is the most suitable way to maintain their genetic lines. In this regard, we report a simple and efficient method for the in vitro propagation of a screened and selected high yielding drug type variety of Cannabis sativa, MX-1 using synthetic seed technology. Axillary buds of Cannabis sativa isolated from aseptic multiple shoot cultures were successfully encapsulated in calcium alginate beads. The best gel complexation was achieved using 5 % sodium alginate with 50 mM CaCl2.2H2O. Regrowth and conversion after encapsulation was evaluated both under in vitro and in vivo conditions on different planting substrates. The addition of antimicrobial substance — Plant Preservative Mixture (PPM) had a positive effect on overall plantlet development. Encapsulated explants exhibited the best regrowth and conversion frequency on Murashige and Skoog medium supplemented with thidiazuron (TDZ 0.5 μM) and PPM (0.075 %) under in vitro conditions. Under in vivo conditions, 100 % conversion of encapsulated explants was obtained on 1:1 potting mix- fertilome with coco natural growth medium, moistened with full strength MS medium without TDZ, supplemented with 3 % sucrose and 0.5 % PPM. Plantlets regenerated from the encapsulated explants were hardened off and successfully transferred to the soil. These plants are selected to be used in mass cultivation for the production of biomass as a starting material for the isolation of THC as a bulk active pharmaceutical.

Key words

Encapsulation Nodal explants Plant growth regulators Plant regeneration Synthetic seeds 



Calcium chloride


Murashige and Skoog


Plant Growth Regulator


Plant Preservative Mixture




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Copyright information

© Prof. H.S. Srivastava Foundation for Science and Society 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hemant Lata
    • 1
    Email author
  • Suman Chandra
    • 1
  • Ikhlas A. Khan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mahmoud A. ElSohly
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.National Center for Natural Products Research, School of PharmacyThe University of MississippiUniversityUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pharmacognosy, School of PharmacyThe University of MississippiUniversityUSA
  3. 3.Department of Pharmaceutics, School of PharmacyThe University of MississippiUniversityUSA

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