Research Updates, Santalum|

Abstract

Sustainable resource preservation of Santalumspecies that yield commercially important forest products is needed. This review provides an understanding of their basic biology, propagation, hemi-parasitic nature, reproductive biology, and biotechnology.

Many species of the genus Santalum (Santalaceae) have been exploited unremittingly for centuries, resulting in the extinction of one and the threatened status of three other species. This reduction in biodiversity of sandalwood has resulted from the commercial exploitation of its oil-rich fragrant heartwood. In a bid to conserve the remaining germplasm, biotechnology provides a feasible, and effective, means of propagating members of this genus. This review provides a detailed understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying the success or failure of traditional propagation, including a synopsis of the process of hemi-parasitism in S. album, and of the suitability of host plants to sustain the growth of seedlings and plants under forestry production. For the mass production of economically important metabolites, and to improve uniformity of essential oils, the use of clonal material of similar genetic background for cultivation is important. This review summarizes traditional methods of sandalwood production with complementary and more advanced in vitro technologies to provide a basis for researchers, conservationists and industry to implement sustainable programs of research and development for this revered genus.

Reference: da Silva, J. A. T., M. M. Kher, D. Soner, T. Page, X. Zhang, M. Nataraj and G. Ma (2016). “Sandalwood: basic biology, tissue culture, and genetic transformation.” Planta 243(4): 847-887.

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