Application of multi-shoots cultures in micropropagation of willow herb (Chamaenerion angustifolium (L.) Scop.)
Introduction: Willow herb (Chamaenerion angustifolium (L.) Scop. syn. Epilobium angustifolium L. from Onagraceae family is a valuable medicinal plant that has been used in the treatment of urogenital disorders including BPH (Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy). The raw material is a rich source of polyphenols as well as steroids, triterpenoids and fatty acids. Due to frequent interspecific hybridization, plants collected in wild display a very diverse and variable content of active compounds. This poses a challenge in obtaining high quality and homogenous raw material. Application of the in vitro cultures and micropropagation techniques may offer a solution for alternative methods of cultivation. Objective: This work presents preliminary results of the first implementation of in vitro cultures of willow herb to obtain material for medicinal purposes. Methods: Sterile seedlings were donors of explants, which were used for induction of multi-shoots culture according to a modified protocol described by Turker and co-workers. Statistical analysis was used for assessment of significance of differences among variables. Results: Six different genotypes (lines) originating from root explants were chosen for clonal propagation. Efficiency of the elaborated method was 16–20 shoots per explant. Finally, over 3000 acclimatized plants were obtained and used for field crops. Conclusions: The use of Ch. angustifolium in vitro cultures can contribute to the introduction of this valuable herb for field crops and increase the availability of the raw material for food and pharmaceutical industries.