Paper Title
In-Vitro Propagation of Stevia Rebaudiana (Bertoni) Bertoni (Asteraceae)

Stevia rebaudiana (Bertoni) Bertoni is a medicinal plant native to South America, which produces diterpene steviol glycosides which are low calorie sweeteners, about 300 times sweeter than sucrose. Even though, this plant has an immense potential to be used in Sri Lanka, it has not been introduced yet due to various reasons. The main objective of the present study is to find out an optimum protocol for in-vitro propagation of Stevia rebaudiana. Explants were collected from authenticated mother plants maintained in the green house. Nodal explants were surface sterilised using different concentrations of CloroxR. Culture establishment and shoot multiplication were performed in Murashige and Skoog medium (MS) supplemented with different concentrations and combinations of BA and IBA. In vitro rooting of shoots were tested using different concentrations and combinations of IBA and charcoal. Data were analysed using ANOVA in SAS statistical package. Results exhibited that the optimum surface sterilization method for Stevia rebaudiana is 15% clorox for 15 minutes. MS medium supplemented with 0.5mg/L IBA and 2mg/L BA, exhibited the best shoot proliferation rate. Itcan be sub cultured up to four sub cultures without any significant decline in the number of shoots produced per plant. The optimum rooting was observed in MS medium supplemented with 0.1% charcoal and 1mg/L IBA. Rooted plantlets were successfully allimatied with 85% success rate. Index Terms - In-vitro propagation, Stevia rebaudiana, Nodal explant, MS medium, Large scale production