Gymnema sylvestre R. Br. is an important medicinal plant (Family: Asclepiadaceae). It has been used as an antidiabetic agent in traditional medicines. The hypoglycemic activity has also been validated through clinical trials and studies on animal models. Extensive use of G. sylvestre for phytoceuticals has led to its depletion from the natural habitat and thus, the plant finds its presence in the list of endangered plant species of India.
Sharad Vats and Raka Kamal (Department of Botany, University of Rajasthan, India) have published their research in the journal Current Bioactive Compounds on the identification of flavonoids from plant parts and callus culture of G. sylvestre. Flavonoids are important bioactive compounds having a wide range of therapeutic activities like anti-inflammatory, antiallergic, anticancer, antioxidant etc. “Being an endangered species with low seed viability, we thought to isolate flavonoids using tissue culture approach. Plant tissue culture technique is an effective way to produce metabolites in vitro and it helps in conserving the continuously depleting biodiversity. There were some initial hiccups in raising the callus culture from the milkweed. However, lower concentration of phytohormones, alone and in combinations triggered callusing from the explants. Tissue culture media supplemented with different phytohormones resulted in the formation of colored callus, which might be due to the synthesis and accumulation of certain pigments as a result of cytodifferetiation in respective cells,” said Sharad Vats, currently working in the department of Bioscience & Biotechnology, Banasthali Vidyapith, Rajasthan.
The flavonoids were identified using chromatographic and spectral studies. It was observed that the content was slightly more in the experimental plant as compared to the callus tissue. The authors intend to work further on enhancing the metabolite content in callus culture using precursors and elicitors.