Growth of Brahmi Bacopa monnieri (L.) Wettst. by NFT and DFT hydroponic systems and their accumulation of saponin bacosides

Chutiporn Maneeply, Kawee Sujipuli, Narisa Kunpratum


Brahmi or Bacopa monnieri (L.) Wettst. has been used as a nootropic herb in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. This plant can boost memory retention and protect against depression and Alzheimer’s disease. The influence of NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) and DFT (Deep Flow Technique) hydroponic systems on growth of Brahmi and production of bacosides was investigated. Brahmi shoots were cultured in NFT and DFT hydroponic soilless systems for six weeks. NFT hydroponics grows plants using a very shallow recirculating nutrient solution, while DFT hydroponics employs a deep recirculating nutrient solution. Results showed that Brahmi biomass increased under hydroponic culture. The DFT technique stimulated vegetative growth of Brahmi more than the NFT technique, with the former generating higher dry weight, shoot number, leaf number and total leaf area. Highest dry weight of Brahmi plants grown under DFT hydroponics was 8.48±0.44 g/plant, 10.1 times higher compared to soil culture (control). Bioactive compounds in bacoside A consisting of bacoside A3, bacopaside II, bacoside X and bacopasaponin C were measured by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). High levels of bacoside A3, bacopaside II and bacoside X were observed in Brahmi grown in soil culture rather than by hydroponics, and Bacopasaponin C content (1.45±0.09% w/w dry wt) was significantly higher than control (0.81±0.05% w/w dry wt). Interestingly, accumulations of all active compounds of bacoside A per plant for Brahmi grown under hydroponics were significantly higher (p<0.01) than by soil culture. Findings indicated hydroponic cultures as an optimal alternative for Brahmi biomass production. Hydroponics gave a high-quality yield of Brahmi, high accumulation of bioactive compounds with fast crop production rate.

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