Temporary immersion systems for the production of Moringa oleifera tissues and metabolites

ISHS Secretariat
Temporary immersion systems for the production of Moringa oleifera tissues and metabolites

Elmien Coetser is an MSc (Agric) Horticulture student at the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences under her main supervisor, Professor Elsa S. du Toit from the University of Pretoria, South Africa, and co-supervisor, Professor Gerhard Prinsloo from the University of South Africa. She completed her degree in BSc (Agric) Plant Production and Soil Sciences at the University of Pretoria. Her current research involves tissue culture of Moringa oleifera using two different methods; conventional solidified medium method and temporary immersion bioreactors. M. oleifera is a valuable medicinal plant, but highly variable in genetic make-up. This tree produces a range of biologically active compounds, some of which may not have been clearly identified or understood, and thus has the potential for the discovery of new drugs. Tissue culture methods provide a controlled environment where plant tissues can be produced in sterile conditions, reducing contaminants and variability within a plant product. Temporary immersion systems are in vitro systems that, instead of using solidified nutrient media, use liquid nutrient media in which explants are immersed for set periods. Research has shown that these temporary immersion systems may be more beneficial to plant health and increase production of secondary metabolites, compared to conventional methods. These tissue culture methods were compared for the clonal production of moringa seedling material and metabolomic analyses have been conducted with the use of H1 NMR-based metabolomics. It was found that a pre-culturing phase allows the explants to establish some growth before moving onto shooting media. This pre-culturing phase increases survival rate of explants in bioreactors and also serves as a “screening” phase to reduce risk of contamination. During the shooting phase explants were either planted individually onto a solidified medium in GA-7 vessels or in groups of ten in bioreactors. After several weeks of shoot growth, explants were harvested, measured for growth and analysed with H1 NMR metabolomics to determine the difference between these two tissue culture methods. Elmien has finished her experiments and is currently busy analysing the data and writing her Master’s thesis.

Elmien Coetser won the ISHS Young Minds Award for the best oral presentation at the II International Symposium on Moringa in South Africa in November 2019.

Elmien Coetser, Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa, e-mail: elmien.coetser@gmail.com

The article is available in Chronica Horticulturae

Young Minds Award Winners