Background: Artemisia annua is well known for its anti-malarial bio-active compound artemisinin. Development of elite planting material of A. annua and its agro-technology can fulfill the requirement of Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT) dosages worldwide.
Objectives: To develop an efficient in-vitro propagation protocol for A. annua and assess the field performance of in-vitro propagated plants for their growth and artemisinin yield.
Methods: The in-vitro propagation protocol of A. annua was developed using the nodal segment in four steps viz: initiation, multiplication, rooting and hardening. In-vitro propagated plants were transplanted with open-pollinated seed raised plants in an experimental field trial having soil supplementation of Farm Yard Manure (FYM), vermicompost and NPK.
Result: Maximum 92% shoots were initiated in Murashige and Skoog medium (MS) with 0.44 μM 6-benzyl aminopurine (BA) and highest 281.33 ± 09.75 micro-shoots/inoculum obtained in MS with 15.54 μM BA. The maximum number of roots was found in MS with 100 mg/L activated charcoal while 78.20% of plants survived in the sand: soil: vermicompost (1:1:1) mixture. The highest dry leaf yield (6.37 t/ha) was observed in in-vitro propagated plants grown with vermicompost, while highest artemisinin content (1.11 ± 0.10) and artemisinin yield (65.05 kg/ha) was found in the in-vitro propagated plants grown with FYM after 120 days of transplantation.
Conclusion: This study reports an efficient, cost-effective and rapid in-vitro propagation protocol for A. annua as well as enhanced artemisinin yield through the cultivation of in-vitro propagated plants using organic soil supplement inputs. This would lead to an increase in the production of artemisinin yield and fulfill the demand of Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT).