Picrorhiza Nature and Natural Resources (Nayar and Sastri 1990).

Picrorhiza kurroa
Royle ex Benth (family Scrophulariaceae) is an important perennial medicinal
herb endemic to North-Western Himalayan region, found between 3000 and 5000 m
altitudes (Pandit et al. 2012).
Picroside-I and picroside-II- the main bioactive constituents of P. kurroa are used in herbal
formulations such as Picroliv, Katuki, Arogya, Kutaki, Livocare, Livomap,
Livomyn, Livplus, Pravekliv and Vimliv for the treatment of liver disorders,
fever, asthma, malaria, jaundice, inflammation, allergy, hepatitis-B, etc. (Sah and Varshney 2013; Bhandari et al. 2009). P. kurroa has been listed as an
endangered medicinal plant species by the International Union for Conservation
of Nature and Natural Resources (Nayar
and Sastri 1990). Global supply (excluding China and Pakistan) of P. kurroa is around 375 tons, with India
contributing around 70 tons. Today price of plant material varies from Rs. 250
to 770 per kg (Shitiz et al. 2013).
Owing to its economic importance and depleting population in natural habitat,
immediate thrust has to be given for its conservation, micropropagation and in
vitro production of secondary metabolites. Different in vitro culture
techniques have been employed for micropropagation, conservation and secondary
metabolite production in P. kurroa (Rawat et al. 2013; Patial et al. 2012;
Sood and Chauhan 2010) but limited progress has been made so far with
respect to development of rapid and cost effective approach for enhancing
secondary metabolite production in this plant species.

Plant
has been used for medicinal purpose for a long before recorded history.
Medicinal Plants have been used throughout ancient civilization, there has been
many description of medicinal value of plants in ancient text and records. Much
of the medicinal plants have developed through observation of wild animals and
by trial and error.

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Many conventional drugs
are derived from plants. Salicylic acid a precursor of aspirin, was originally
derived from white willow bark and the meadowsweet. Cinchona bark is the source
of malaria fighting quinine. Opium poppy yields morphine, codeine and
paregoric, a remedy for diarrhea. Other therapeutic area were natural products
are have had an impact is in the longevity of life and cancer treatment, most
of the anti-cancer drugs are derived from plants and micro-organism. Natural
products have been proven to be the 
richest source of medicinal compounds, sceening the flora and fauna,
soil samples, fungus and bacteria is often done to discover a new drug or its
lead structure.

 

Globally, there has been a growth in the
plant derived medically useful formulations, drugs and health-care products. It
has a market covering more than 60 % products derived from plant origin. India exhibits
remarkable outlook in modern medicines that are based on natural products
besides traditional system of Indian medicines. Almost, 70% of the modern
medicines in India are derived from natural products.

                                                                                                                                       

India has an area of 2.4 % on the world
with 8% global biodiversity. It is one of the 12 mega diversity hot spot
regions of the world, other countries being Brazil, Columbia, China, South
Africa, Mexico, Venezuela, Indonesia, Ecuador, Peru, USA and Bolivia.
Throughout the country forest of India harbor 90% of India’s medicinal plants
diversity. Only approximately 10% of the known medicinal plants of India are
restricted to non-forest area/habitats. According to (Schippmann, 2002), one fifth of all the plants found in India are
used for medicinal purpose. The world average stands at 12.5% while India has
20% plant species of medicinal value. India has about 44% of flora, which is
used medicinally (Hamilton, 2003). India
is one of the richest in plant medical traditions, it is estimated that around
25,000 effective plant based formulations are used in folk medicine, which are
known to rural communities in India. It is estimated that there are over 7800
medicinal drug manufacturing units in India, which consume about 2000 tonnes of
herbs annually (Ramakrishnappa, 2002),
India and China are the largest users of medicinal plants (Wang, 20002). 

 

Many fungi are found to be
associated with plants as endophytes, living in association with almost every
plants (Wilson 1995;
Rodriguez and Redman 2008).
Endophytes play a very important role in nature which helps the plants to adapt
to different environmental conditions, and they also influence plant nutrition,
growth rate, survival, and distribution (Nagabhyru
et al. 2013; Wani et al. 2015). Endophytic
microorganism are known to produce wide range of bioactive secondary
metabolites due to the intimate plant-microbe interactions leading to a
molecular cross-talk between the two symbiotic partners during various stages
of development of the host (Tan et al.
2001; Brader et al. 2014). Therefore they are metabolically more dynamic
than their counterparts living in less challenging environmental conditions.

Several
species of endophytes produce secondary metabolites called volatile organic
compounds (VOCs) that vaporize at ambient temperatures (Schalchli et al. 2014; Hung et al. 2015). These compounds act as
signaling molecules to facilitate interactions with other microorganisms and
plants, thus influencing the dynamics of the ecosystem (Wenke et al. 2010; Schalchli et al. 2014; Ditengou et al. 2015).
VOCs of microorganisms influence plant growth and development through various
mechanisms, for example by inhibiting the plant pathogens, by favorably
modulating the plant gene expression, and by programming the plant root
architecture (Minerdi et al. 2011;
Schalchli et al. 2014; Ditengou et al. 2015). In addition to their
ecological functions, microbial VOCs may serve as potential antimicrobials,
biofuel molecules, commodity chemicals or their precursors (Fortman et al. 2008, Alpha et al. 2015; Strobel 2015). Among the
terpenes, fungi usually produce sesquiterpenes and diterpenes; however, some
recent reports have revealed that they produce monoterpenoids as well (Tomsheck et al. 2010; Strobel et al. 2011;
Riyaz-Ul-Hassan et al. 2013; Shaw et al. 2015). Monoterpene biosynthetic
pathways may remain silent under normal culture conditions (Riyaz-Ul- Hassan et al. 2012). Thus, these compounds are
relatively unknown from the microbial sources.