Individual study: In vitro propagation as a viable conservation strategy for Commiphora wightii, an endangered medicinally important desert tree, India
Kant T., Tomar U.K., Prajapati S. & Parmar A.K. (2010) In vitro propagation as a viable conservation strategy for Commiphora wightii, an endangered medicinally important desert tree, India. Conservation Evidence, 7, 94-99
Commiphora wightii is an endangered tree of arid and semi-arid tracts of northern Africa to northwest India. It is an important medicinal plant well-known for its oleo-gum-resin with cholesterol reducing properties. However, it has been over-exploited such that it is on the verge of extinction in the Indian part of its range. The present study reports the use of tissue culture as a viable alternative to propagation via stem cuttings as well as seedlings for conservation of this valuable plant. The work presented describes the development of two tissue culture based pathways for plant production, their acclimatization and successful field transfer. Plants derived from in vitro propagation have been growing well under field conditions for over three years (April 2007 to August 2010). Flowering and fruiting has taken place, as would be expected in similarly sized wild plants, and plants have exhibited a good rate of growth.
The initiative has proven cost-effective in terms of producing plants from culture initiation stage to a hardened plant of size suitable for transplanting into the field; the cost of a single plant produced through a somatic embryogenesis pathway was about Indian Rupees (INR) 19 (equivalent to Pound Sterling (GBP) 0.26), while that produced through a cotyledonary node based protocol was INR 27 (GBP 0.37). The study clearly indicates the applicability and benefits of using tissue culture technology to assist in conservation of C. wightii.