First novel attempt of saffron (crocus sativus l.) Cultivation (in vivo and in vitro) in malaysia for mass propagation
Saffron ( Crocussativus L.) originated and grown in limited countries such as Iran, Turkey, India ( Kashmir) and Spain is the most expensive, rare, imported spice and is gaining popularity and importance in Malaysia. The economic value of this “red gold” is well known since ancient times. Unfortunately, this plant does not produce viable natural seeds and the growth rate by natural corms is very slow. Hence, in vitro culture of this species is urgently needed. Up to our knowledge, this is the first attempt of cultivation of this crop in Malaysia either under in vivo or in vitro conditions. Saffron is also notable for medicinal and pharmaceutical properties, besides being used for food seasoning and colouring. In the present study, corms were utilized to cultivate this species on various substrates and also to initiate in vitro cultures on various media and supplemented with different plant growth regulators. The results obtained were very encouraging and proven that saffron has potential to be cultivated in Malaysia, although a tropical country, provided some modifications of the required growth conditions are made. In vitro culture from corm explants ( whole or segmented) produced somatic embryos and shoot regeneration. Hence, tissue culture of this species was successful and promise great potential for mass propagation, plant conservation and even commercialization in the long term. Corms after a few months germinated on black moist soil produced normal flowers when maintained at 13-20ᵒ C.
Index Terms- saffron, somatic embryos, in vitro culture, shoots regeneration, Plant Growth Regulators.