Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 103, Issue 18, pp 7325–7354 | Cite as

Biotechnological interventions on the genus Rauvolfia: recent trends and imminent prospects

  • Eashan Mukherjee
  • Saikat GantaitEmail author
  • Suprabuddha Kundu
  • Sutanu Sarkar
  • Somnath Bhattacharyya


Rauvolfia spp., also known as devil peppers, are a group of evergreen shrubs and trees. Among the ~ 76 various species, Rauvolfia serpentina is the most important one as it finds its use as an important medicinal plant. It is commonly known as the Indian snakeroot plant or Sarpagandha. The plant is rich in multiple secondary metabolites. Some of the well-known secondary metabolites are reserpine, ajmaline, ajmalicine, serpentine, yohimbine, etc. Alkaloids are also found in all parts of the plant but the richest sources are the roots. Since ancient times, roots (mainly due to reserpine) have been utilized in various Ayurvedic and Unani medicinal preparations for the treatment of diseases like hypertension, anxiety, insomnia and schizophrenia. Apart from this, there are many other pharmacological and ethnobotanical uses of this plant. There are a number of published reports regarding tissue culture techniques on Rauvolfia spp. The current review mainly illustrates and discusses the various in vitro biotechnological aspects such as direct regeneration, indirect regeneration via callus formation, somatic embryogenesis, synthetic seed production, hairy root culture, polyploidy induction and secondary metabolite estimation, which provides significant ideas regarding the ongoing research activities and future prospects related to the genetic improvement of this genus.


Genetic transformation Micropropagation Polyploidy Secondary metabolite Somatic embryogenesis Synthetic seed 



The authors acknowledge the e-library assistance from Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya (BCKV), West Bengal, India and experimental assistance from Plant Tissue Culture laboratory at Regional Nuclear Agricultural Research Centre (RNARC), BCKV. We are further thankful to the anonymous reviewer(s) and the editor of this article for their critical comments and suggestions on the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Crop Research Unit (Genetics and Plant Breeding)Bidhan Chandra Krishi ViswavidyalayaNadiaIndia
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural Biotechnology, Faculty of AgricultureBidhan Chandra Krishi ViswavidyalayaNadiaIndia

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