Micropropagation through cotyledonary and leaf node and boswellic acid production in stem callus of a woody medicinal endangered tree species Boswellia serrata Roxb. is reported. The response for shoots, roots and callus formation were varied in cotyledonary and leafy nodal explants from in vitro germinated seeds, if inoculated on Murshige and Skoog's (MS) medium fortified with cytokinins and auxins alone or together. A maximum of 8.0 ± 0.1 shoots/cotyledonary node explant and 6.9 ± 0.1 shoots/leafy node explants were produced in 91 and 88 % cultures respectively on medium with 2.5 μM 6-benzyladenine (BA) and 200 mg l(-1) polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP). Shoots treated with 2.5 μM IBA showed the highest average root number (4.5) and the highest percentage of rooting (89 %). Well rooted plantlets were acclimatized and 76.5 % of the plantlets showed survival upon transfer to field conditions. Randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis of the micropropagated plants compared with mother plant revealed true-to-type nature. The four major boswellic acid components in calluses raised from root, stem, cotyledon and leaf explants were analyzed using HPLC. The total content of four boswellic acid components was higher in stem callus obtained on MS with 15.0 μM IAA, 5.0 μM BA and 200 mg l(-1) PVP. The protocol reported can be used for conservation and exploitation of in vitro production of medicinally important non-steroidal anti-inflammatory metabolites of B. serrata.
Keywords: Anti-arthritic; Anti-inflammatory; Boswellia serrata; Boswellic acid; Burseraceae; Callus; Indian olibanum; Micropropagation; Salai guggul; Steroids.