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KUMAR, Vijay L.  and  SINGHAL, Abhishek. Germinating seeds of the mung bean, Vigna radiata (Fabaceae), as a model for the preliminary evaluation of cytotoxic effects of drugs. Biocell [online]. 2009, vol.33, n.1, pp.19-24. ISSN 0327-9545.

Cytotoxic properties of plant extracts and drugs being developed for cancer treatment are usually evaluated by a variety of in vivo and in vitro tests carried out in animal or plant based models. In the present study we have evaluated the possibility of using the germinating mung beans (Vigna radiata), for rapid and inexpensive screening of drugs exhibiting cytotoxic properties. Mung beans were allowed to germinate either in tap water or in different drug solutions, and parameters like percent germination, increase in radicle length, change in seedling weight and mitotic index of apical root meristems were determined at two time intervals coinciding with the time at which the radicle length in control group was 1.0 to 1.5 cm (time 0, T0) and 48 h later (T48). Methanol extract of Calotropis procera latex as well as drugs like podophyllotoxin, cyclophosphamide, cyproheptadine and aspirin produced a dose-dependent inhibitory effect on seed germination, seed weight gain, radicle growth and mitotic index in the radicle meristems. The inhibitory effect of some of the drugs tested was associated with reduction in water imbibition. Some of the drugs at higher concentrations allowed seed germination to take place but produced radicle decay and seedling weight loss. Our study shows that germinating V. radiata beans could be used as a convenient model for the preliminary screening of drugs exhibiting cytotoxic properties.

Keywords : Phaseolus aureus; Calotropis procera; Podophyllotoxin; Cyclophosphamide; Aspirin.

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