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Doctoral thesis2017Open access

Micropropagation, molecular and biochemical analyses of Hypoxis species

Nsibande, Busisiwe


Plants are an important source of food, nutrition and medicine. An estimated 80% of the global population relies on herbal medicinal products and supplements. In developing countries plant extracts are the major source of medicine, more especially in rural communities where modern health facilities are not easily accessible. Hypoxis species are associated with medicinal properties and have been used for many generations by the indigenous people and traditional healers of southern Africa to treat various ailments. Some contain hypoxoside, a phytochemical that has immune regulatory properties and is used in the composition of medicinal products in the pharmaceutical industry. Hypoxis species grow naturally in most warm temperate and tropical regions of the world except Europe, northern and central Asia, north Africa, extra-tropical South America and Canada, and are reported to be mostly common in the southern hemisphere. The objectives of this work were to develop strategies for the sustainable commercial production and maintenance of the medicinal Hypoxis species in the near future, to understand how the different species that grow in Swaziland are related, and to determine the phytochemical compounds of medicinal significance by i) developing in vitro protocols for their propagation and mass production; ii) studying the molecular phylogeny of some Hypoxis species that grow in Swaziland and iii) analyzing the geophytes for the presence of important biochemical compounds known for their medicinal value. The investigations were carried out at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Department of Plant Breeding in Alnarp, Sweden. All species used in this work originated from Swaziland and were identified at the National Herbarium in Swaziland. The major results include development of in vitro regeneration protocols for propagating Hypoxis on semi-solid media and in liquid medium using bioreactors for mass production, identification of two taxa with a similar evolutionary relationship, extracts from the corms of all the species analyzed were found to contain phenolic compounds and the norlignan diglucoside, hypoxoside. However, in this study, H. hemerocallidea the main species used in the pharmaceutical industry for extracting hypoxoside was found to contain less of it compared to most of the other species analyzed.


Bioreactor, Chloroplast DNA, Corm, Hypoxis, Hypoxoside, Micropropagation

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2017, number: 2017:94ISBN: 978-91-7760-078-7, eISBN: 978-91-7760-079-4
Publisher: Department of Plant Breeding, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Genetics and Breeding
    Plant Biotechnology

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