Vegetative propagation of Moringa oleifera trees growing in Pretoria, South Africa, with offsets producing equally consistent bioactivity
The use of herbal medicine has increased worldwide, including the use of Moringa oleifera, as this high value tree crop has been used traditionally to treat various diseases and improve livelihoods of many people. Taking vegetative cuttings of moringa is a common practice in high humidity tropical areas. Compared to other methods of propagation, it is quicker as the tree can reach 3 m in height within three months, and also reaches maturity faster. Moringa trees growing on the Experimental Farm of the Hillcrest Campus, University of Pretoria, Pretoria vary in leaf yield and in total bio-active compounds, because the trees grow under sub-optimal climatic conditions with a definite winter and summer season. Certain trees were selected for vegetative propagation, because of their leaf production potential, pods and non-pod bearing properties, pod size, flower colour, as well as for their bio-active compounds. The trial was conducted in the spring and summer season and repeated the following year. Stem cuttings of 45 cm in length were collected from the different selections and prepared for planting in a randomised complete block design with three replicates. Spring planted cuttings resulted in a high survival rate of 72%, while summer planted cuttings produced a low survival rate 35%. The antimicrobial activities with minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) of between 0.04 and 1.25 mg mL‑1 were shown against Escherichia coli and Enterococcus faecalis, respectively. Samples collected from trees bearing leaves and pods (treatment LP2) in winter had significant microbial activity of 0.04 mg mL‑1 inhibition. The total activity of LP2 was also significantly higher than other trees with 1450 mL g‑1 of samples collected in winter. Trees produced clonally through vegetative propagation of cuttings will maintain offsets from the desired moringa selections and hold valuable traits for future use by farmers and rural communities.
Ratshilivha, N., Eloff, K. and du Toit, E.S. (2021). Vegetative propagation of Moringa oleifera trees growing in Pretoria, South Africa, with offsets producing equally consistent bioactivity. Acta Hortic. 1306, 75-82
vegetative, propagation, cuttings, leaves, pods, inhibition, total activity