Cryopreservation: An Approach for Long-term Storage of Phyto-diversity Plants of North-East India

Meera Das*, Reema Diengdoh, Seram Devika, Suman Kumaria, North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong, India, *Speaker

North-east India, being one of the global hot-spots, is considered the richest reservoir of diverse plant genetic resources. However, the vast utilities of plant species in medicines, ornamentals, fragrances, urbanization and illegitimate harvest of plant genetic resources have immense impact on establishment and multiplication in the natural habitat and many of them have already been listed in the threatened category of CITES. Hence, storage and conservation are the prime concern for plant conservationists to safeguard plant genetic resources in this region. In addition to micropropagation, cryopreservation plays an important role in conservation science due to its additional potential of storing genetic resources without altering its genetic makeup. Optimization of protocols desirable for each species is the key aspect in conservation science since species react differently to the formulations and conditions opted for experimentation. Studies were therefore carried out to developed protocols for long-term storage of some important plant species of North-east India such as Aquilaria malaccensis, Dendrobium chrysanthum, D. nobile, Paphiopedilum insigne, P. villosum etc. Different techniques such as dehydration, encapsulation-dehydration, vitrification and encapsulation-vitrification were applied to study the efficiency of each plant species for long-term storage. A protocol each was developed for all the species studied with a different level of effectiveness in the techniques applied. Also, a modification in the standard protocols of cryopreservation techniques, such as rehydration of explants prior to its transfer into regeneration medium in dehydration technique and incorporation of antioxidants in vitrification technique, improved media for post-cryo survival and regeneration in some of the species studied. A few contributions consequently towards conservation of plant genetic resources of North-east India through cryopreservation will be discussed in detail during the presentation.