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In Vitro Responses and Production of Phytochemicals of Potential Medicinal Value in Nutmeg, Myristica Fragrans Houtt.


  • Department of Genetics, Dr. A.L.Mudaliar Post Graduate Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Madras (Taramani Campus), Chennai-600113, India


The in vitro production of phytochemicals by the embryogenic cultures of nutmeg- Myristica fragrans Houtt., a tropical tree of considerable commercial and medicinal value, was investigated. The regeneration potential of the somatic embryos and the morphogenetic responses of foliar explants were also studied. The metabolite profiling of the long term embryogenic cultures established from zygotic embryos in media with activated charcoal, revealed the presence of several monoterpenes and essential oils including α&β-pinene, myristicin, safrole, methyl eugenol and betasitosterol. The essential oil profile varied with the age of the cultures and the 3 week old cultures had a rich variety of monoterpenes. The spent charcoal medium of these embryogenic cultures exhibited strong anti-microbial activity against the pathogens Salmonella typhi and Staphylococcus aureus. This is considered to be the first report of in vitro production of phytochemicals by the embryogenic mass. The results obtained in this study suggest that both the embryogenic cultures and the spent charcoal medium can act as sources of products of pharmacological interest and provide a basis for further biotechnological investigations of this rare, medicinally important species and for conservation of its germplasm by cryopreservation. Germination of somatic embryos derived from zygotic embryos was achieved in media with NAA. Direct formation of somatic embryos was achieved in leaf explants from juvenile plants in MS media with kinetin, 2,4-D and NAA.


Embryogenic, Myristicin, Safrole, Antimicrobial, Tissue Culture, Medicinal Plant

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