Selection and Micropropagation of an Elite Melatonin Rich Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum L.) Germplasm Line Shukla, Mukund R.; Kibler, Annaliese; Turi, Christina; Erland, Lauren; Sullivan, J. Alan; Murch, Susan; Saxena, Praveen K.
Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum L.) is a sacred plant of medicinal and spiritual significance in many cultures. Medicinal properties of Tulsi are ascribed to its phytochemicals with antioxidant capabilities. The current study was undertaken to screen a large seed population of Tulsi to select germplasm lines with high antioxidant potential and to standardize protocols for micropropagation and biomass production to produce a phytochemically consistent crop. A total of 80 germplasm lines were established under in vitro conditions and screened for their antioxidant potential determined with the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) bioassay. The micropropagation of a selected line, named Vrinda, was established using nodal cultures grown on Murashige and Skoog medium containing benzylaminopurine (1.1 µM), gibberellic acid (0.3 µM), and activated charcoal (0.6%). The antioxidant phytohormones melatonin and serotonin were quantified in the field and greenhouse grown tissues of Vrinda and melatonin levels were found to be consistent in both conditions with higher serotonin levels under field conditions. This integrated approach combining the in vitro selection and propagation offers potential applications in the development of safe, effective, and novel natural health products of Tulsi, and many other medicinal plant species.
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