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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MANAGEMENT OF TEMPERATE FRUIT NUT AND SPECIALTY CROP GENETIC RESOURCES

Location: National Clonal Germplasm Repository (Corvallis, Oregon)

Title: Improvement of Ginseng by In Vitro Culture: Challenges and Opportunities

Authors
item Uchendu, Esther -
item REED, BARBARA
item Brown, D. -
item Saxena, P. -

Submitted to: Comprehensive Biotechnology
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: December 15, 2010
Publication Date: August 1, 2011
Citation: Uchendu, E., Reed, B.M., Brown, D.C., Saxena, P.K. 2011. Improvement of Ginseng by In Vitro Culture: Challenges and Opportunities. In: Moo-Young, M. Comprehensive Biotechnology. 2nd Edition. Oxford, UK:Elsevier. 4:317-329.

Interpretive Summary: Ginseng plants are perennial herbs that grow mostly in the wild and only a few are cultivated. They are mainly distributed in North America and North East Asia and contain chemicals that are used to treat a range of medical ailments. Ginseng is mainly propagated by seeds, but they are difficult to germinate and often produce plants that are of variable characteristics and quality. In the natural habitat, the ginseng has a production cycle from seedling to harvest of 3 to 7 years. Research into tissue culture of ginseng cells, tissues and organs began in the 1960s and by 1980 methods for large-scale production were established. With these culture techniques, quality and quantity of production could be controlled. Micropropagation reduces the lengthy plant production cycle and preserves unique plant types. It also allows a more rapid multiplication of plants of superior quality and genetic uniformity than seedling production. This chapter provides a general overview of ginseng growth characteristics, development and an update on the major scientific research contributions of the culture techniques for improving the cultivation of the various ginseng species.

Technical Abstract: The genus Panax belongs to the taxonomic family Araliaceae and consists of many species that are commonly referred to as ginseng. The plants are perennial herbs that grow mostly in the wild and only a few are cultivated. Geographically, they are mainly distributed in North America and North East Asia. The species contain bioactive chemicals including ginsenosides which have some clinical evidence for the treatment of medical ailments ranging from the common cold, diabetes and cancer, to neurological disorders. Ginseng is mainly propagated by seeds that can be difficult to germinate and often produce plants that are of variable characteristics and quality. In the natural habitat, the Panax species have a production cycle of 3 to 7 years from seedling to harvest. Research into the in vitro culture of ginseng cells, tissues and organs began in the 1960s and by 1980 methods for large-scale applications were established. With in vitro culture methodologies, production can be controlled in terms of both quality and quantity. In vitro methods of micropropagation can reduce the lengthy plant production cycle and can preserve unique genotypes and phenotypes. Micropropagation also allows a more rapid multiplication of plants of superior quality and genetic uniformity than seedling production. This chapter provides a general overview of ginseng growth characteristics, development and an update on the major scientific research contributions of the in vitro culture techniques for improving the cultivation of Panax species.

Last Modified: 7/28/2014
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