Cryopreservation of Medicinal Herbs: Major Breakthroughs, Hurdles and Future

  • Suprabuddha Kundu
  • Umme Salma
  • Saikat Gantait


Throughout the advancement of human civilization, medicinal plants have contributed an immense role. The resources for traditional medicines and most of the modern medicines are obtained from medicinal plants. With the ever-increasing requirement for secondary metabolites, the medicinal plants are exploited all over the world, leading to the threat of their extinction. To combat the situation, there is an urgent need to establish a plan for their long-term conservation. Storage under in vitro cultures, though advantageous, is costly and susceptible to microbial contamination and somaclonal variation. The most competent and economical technique for long-term conservation is cryopreservation (in liquid nitrogen at −196 °C). Traditional techniques of cryopreservation were relied on freeze-induced dehydration and applied for conserving shoot apices and undifferentiated in vitro cultures of cold-tolerant medicinal plant species. However, ice crystal formation usually occurs inside the cell, which is detrimental to cellular structure integrity. As a result, vitrification-mediated new cryopreservation techniques were efficiently employed with all types of the explant. Besides, only small number of medicinal plants could be cryopreserved for their germplasm conservation, and continued efforts to establish cryopreservation protocols for a large array of medicinal plant species are needed. The objective of the present book chapter is to appraise the work carried out in the last one decade employing the diverse cryopreservation methods for the conservation of medicinal plants.


Cryopreservation Desiccation Encapsulation Long-term conservation Medicinal plants Vitrification 



Authors acknowledge the e-library assistance from Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya, Mohanpur, West Bengal, India. We further are thankful to the anonymous reviewers and the editor of this article for their critical comments and suggestions on the manuscript.

Conflict of Interest

Declared none.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suprabuddha Kundu
    • 1
  • Umme Salma
    • 1
  • Saikat Gantait
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural Biotechnology, Faculty of AgricultureBidhan Chandra Krishi ViswavidyalayaMohanpur, NadiaIndia
  2. 2.All India Coordinated Research Project on Groundnut, Directorate of ResearchBidhan Chandra Krishi ViswavidyalayaKalyani, NadiaIndia
  3. 3.Department of Genetics and Plant Breeding, Faculty of AgricultureBidhan Chandra Krishi ViswavidyalayaMohanpur, NadiaIndia

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