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Interpopulation Variation in Picrorhiza kurrooa Royle ex Benth-Step Towards Identifying Genetic Variability and Elite Strains for Crop Improvement Study

Author(s): H. Purohit | B.P. Nautiyal | M.C. Nautiyal

Journal: American Journal of Plant Physiology
ISSN 1557-4539

Volume: 3;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 154;
Date: 2008;
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Keywords: Active ingredients | isoenzyme | microhabitats | stolon | variation

This communication addresses variability at morphological, biochemical and active ingredients level among wild populations of Picrorhiza kurrooa, an important medicinal herb of high altitude region of Himalaya. Variations were observed for microhabitats as well as for two wild strains viz., narrow leaf and broad leaf. Observations suggest variability in vegetative growth while fruits and seeds do not impart significant variation among different populations, microhabitats and strains. Diverse relationship between some morphological characters was noticed viz., leaf characters showed directly proportional relationship with fruit and seed characters. Results reveals almost same pattern of seed peroxidase isoenzyme of both broad leaves and narrow leaves strains even though some populations have different intensity and color bands. Number, intensity and position of esterase isoenzyme band of broad leaves strain do not manifest any specific difference which may suggest genetic polymorphism. Even though, observations are of primary level for biochemical analysis, different intensity bands may advocate genetic variability and adaptive feature of the populations in varying geographical regions. There was considerable variation in active ingredients of both strains and among the populations. Maximum numbers of active components (18) were detected in narrow leaves strain and both broad leaves and narrow leaves strains of Picrorhiza kurrooa from VF population were characterized by the maximum picrotin and picrotoxin contents. Correlation matrix suggests significance of certain morphological characters i.e. plant height, leaf density and area for better alkaloid contents while, flowers adversely affects alkaloid contents. It is also suggested from the findings that moisture regime of raw drug (stolon in P. kurrooa) also determine the quality and can be taken into account for appropriate drying techniques. Overall results indicate superiority of broad leaves strain over narrow leaves strain regarding the morphological features and active contents.
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