Plant fruit extracts enhance the in vitro propagation of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) on Murashige and Skoog media
Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) is a versatile legume with diverse nutritional and nutraceutical properties that serve as a food security and medicinal crop for millions of households across Africa. An efficient protocol was developed to propagate shoot tip and cotyledonary node explants from six cowpea breeding accessions in vitro on Murashige and Skoog (MS) basal media supplemented with either banana extract, coconut water, orange or tomato juice. Micropropagation performance was compared to MS medium supplemented with B5 vitamins. A total of 500 plantlets were obtained in vitro across treatments and MS basal media supplemented with tomato juice had the highest micropropagation performance (154 plantlets), followed by banana extract (112 plantlets), orange juice (107 plantlets), and coconut water (82 plantlets). Three accessions (AGRAC 216, TA, and Asontem) were found to be the most amenable to in vitro propagation using plant-derived extracts. Overall, this study successfully established that plant-derived extracts can support in vitro cowpea propagation in the absence of synthetic plant growth regulators.