A rapid and efficient method for the large-scale propagation of a highly valuable medicinal plant, Andrographis paniculata Nees, through in vitro culture of nodal explants obtained from 15-d-old aseptic seedling has been developed. High frequency direct shoot proliferation was induced in nodal explants cultured on Murashige and Skoog′s medium supplemented with 6-benzylaminopurine (BAP). Amongst the various cytokinins tested (BAP, kinetin, thidiazuron and 2-isopentyl adenine), BAP proved to be the most effective. The shoot forming capacity of the nodal explants was influenced by the BAP concentration (1–12.5 μM), and the optimal response was observed at 10 μM BAP, which induced an average of 34 shoots in 94% of the cultures within 4 wk. Significant differences were recorded in terms of average number of shoots per explant (8.6–34.1) among the different concentrations of BAP investigated. Concentrations of all cytokinins tested reach a level that can be considered above the optimum level, as marked by a reduced frequency of shoot proliferation. The multiple shoots obtained on various concentrations of BAP failed to elongate even after transfer to hormone-free MS medium. Elongation of the induced shoots was achieved on MS basal medium supplemented with 1.0 μM GA3 within 2 wk. A proliferating shoot culture was established by repeatedly subculturing the original nodal explants on shoot multiplication medium after each harvest of the newly formed shoots. The explants retained their morphogenic potential even after three harvests. Therefore, in 90 d, about 60–70 shoots were obtained from a single nodal explant and the nodal explants from primary shoots further regenerated equivalent number of shoots, depicting their high frequency regeneration potential in A. paniculata. Rooting was best induced in 94% of shoots cultured on MS medium supplemented with 2.5 μM indole-3-butyric acid (IBA), within a wk. The plantlets were successfully transferred to soil after hardening with a 92% survival rate. The system is rapid: the initiation of shoot buds to the transplanting of regenerants to soil is completed in 8–9 wk.
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Vol. 44 • No. 5