Micropropagation of Livingstone Potato (Plectranthus esculentus N.E.Br)

Livingstone potato (Plectranthus esculentus N.E.Br) is an underutilised indigenous root vegetable grown by communal farmers in the eastern provinces of Zimbabwe. It is vegetatively propagated using unimproved retained tubers from the previous season. -e risk of disease carryover is therefore high, leading to poor yields. -e objective of the study was to exploit the tissue culture technique of micropropagation to produce a mass supply of healthy planting material for improved productivity. Two experiments were conducted: firstly, to determine the best explant type and secondly, to determine the best landrace and plant growth regulators for the growth of plantlets. -e landraces, namely, Ndurwe, Musande, Chibanda, and Chizambezi, were sourced from communal farmers in the stated production areas. Naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) and benzyl amino purine (BAP) were the auxin and cytokinin used, respectively. -e first experiment was laid out as a randomized complete block design (RCBD) with two factors: landrace and explant type (shoot tips, nodes, and leaves). After culturing the explants on a plain Murashige Skoog (MS) medium for ten weeks, the best explant was the node with regards to the number of nodes, shoots, and roots of the plantlets which were significant (P < 0.05). -e second experiment was laid out as a RCBD with two factors: landraces and the plant growth regulator combinations. -e nodes were subcultured on an MS medium supplemented with the 16 combinations of plant growth regulators (0 mg/l, 0.5 mg/l, 1 mg/l, and 2 mg/l BAP concentrations: 0 mg/l, 0.2 mg/l, 0.5 mg/l, and 1 mg/l NAA concentrations), respectively. Chizambezi performed best and is, therefore, highly recommended for the rapid multiplication of Livingstone potato. Results from this study have clearly demonstrated that the addition of NAA: BAP at varying concentrations was significant and is essential for optimizing the growth media for micropropagation of Livingstone potato in Zimbabwe. Commercial production of plantlets can, therefore, be carried out to provide healthy planting material for the communal farmers for improved productivity while preserving the germplasm of the underutilised crop at the same time.
Date of publication: 
Region Focus: 
Southern Africa
Other Papers, Posters and Presentations
Access restriction: 
Web resource