Micropropagation of an Endangered Medicinal and Indigenous Multipurpose Tree Species: Erythrina abyssinica
Kirika, Margaret W.
Kahia, Jane W.
Diby, Lucien N.
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Erythrina abyssinica (E. abyssinica) is a multipurpose tree and a well-known medicinal plant which is conventionally propagated mainly by seeds. This method may produce a high degree of genetic variability and consequently decrease the medicinal value of the plant. Besides, the seeds have low germination rate and propagation is restricted to rainy season. Hence, there is need to develop a propagation protocol which produces a uniform plants and one which is not restricted to seasons. The objective of this study was to establish an in vitro propagation protocol for the multiplication of E. abyssinica. Seeds were sterilized and germinated in vitro to get sterile starting explants. Sterilization of the seeds was evaluated using different concentrations of a commercial bleach (JIK) ranging from 10%, 20% to 30% for 25 minutes. Kinetin (2.25, 4.50, 6.75, and 9.0 mg/L), and benzylaminopurine (BAP; 2.15, 4.30, 6.46, and 8.61 mg/L) were evaluated in separate experiments for their effect to induce microshoots from nodal explants. Rooting of the microshoot was carried out using half strength Murashige and Skoog (MS) media supplemented with indolebutyric acid (IBA) (0.20, 0.51, and 1.02 mg/L). Statistical analysis software (SAS) package was used to perform analysis of variance on the data to test the significance of the difference between treatments. The result of the sterilization experiment indicated that 10% JIK gave the highest percentage (55%) of clean seeds. Benzylaminopurine evaluated at 8.61 mg/L gave the highest mean number of microshoots (6.80 ± 1.24) after 28 days. On the other hand, IBA evaluated at 0.51mg/L gave the highest mean root length (6.00 ± 01.85 cm). The regenerated plants were acclimatized in the greenhouse and 65% survival rate was recorded after one month. With the increasing worldwide demand for medicinal plants as an alternative to prescription drugs, ex situ, in situ conservation programs and true to type mass propagation of E. abyssinica could benefit from the findings of this study. This is the first report on micropropagation of E. abyssinica.