Biotechnological approaches for propagation and prospecting of important medicinal plants from Indian Thar Desert


Biotechnology Unit, Department of Botany, Jai Narain Vyas University, Jodhpur-342033, Rajasthan, India.


The “Thar Desert” region of Rajasthan in north-west India is one of the most inhospitable landscapes on earth. The desert has sparse vegetation and the ground surface is exposed to sun, atmosphere and associated physical forces. Ever increasing human and livestock population have put heavy demands for plant products, resulting in over exploitation of well adapted plants. Plants like species of Ceropegia, Caralluma, Calotropis, Leptadenia, Tylophora, Pueraria, Mucuna, Vitex and Sarcostemma are valuable sources of fuel, fodder, timber, medicine, biofertilizer (Endophytic rizobia) and vegetables for sustaining life in the desert. These plants are well adapted to the environment and contribute to the productivity, and keep the system photosynthetically active under all seasons. Attempt has also been made beside tissue culture, to isolate and purify the rhizobacteria associated with important native legumes of this region. These studies are important for sustainable agriculture practices.