An efficient micropropagation protocol was developed for the rare, wild Egyptian Astragalus fruticosus Forssk. plant. Seed coat scratching was very effective for getting high frequency of seed germination (100%). Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium fortified with different concentrations of N6-benzylaminopurine (BAP), kinetin (Kn) and thidiazuron (TDZ) either singly or in combination with auxins as 2, 4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2, 4 D) was used for regeneration studies. MS medium supplemented with 1 mg/l BAP was observed to be optimum for direct shoot regeneration from stem and leaf explants of sterile seedlings. Embryogenic callus was induced in MS medium supplemented with 1 mg/L 2, 4- D which showed 85.3 % callusing capacity, maintenance of embryogenic calli on the same medium resulted in regeneration of small plantlets of 1.3 - 2.4 cm height. Regenerated shoots were rooted by culturing onto half strength MS medium supplemented with 1mg/l NAA and complete plantlets were obtained and successfully acclimatized and established in plastic pots containing sterilized soil: sand (1:1) and grown under greenhouse conditions. Micropropagated plants showed strong cytotoxic activity against MCF-7 and HL-60 cell lines, weak antioxidant action, and weak antimicrobial activity against only Bacillus subtilis.
Keywords: Astragalus fruticosus Forssk.; Organogensis; Callus induction; Plant regeneration; Cytotoxicity; Antioxidant; Antimicrobial activity.