Research Article

DNA isolation protocol for the medicinal plant lemon balm (Melissa officinalis, Lamiaceae)

Published: April 27, 2012
Genet. Mol. Res. 11 (2) : 1049-1057 DOI: 10.4238/2012.April.27.3

Abstract

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a medicinal plant that is widely used as a sedative or calmant, spasmolytic and antibacterial agent and sleep aid. This has led to a high demand for lemon balm products, resulting in the extinction of this species in some of its natural habitats. Molecular techniques have increasingly been used in plant diversity conservation and isolation of PCR amplifiable genomic DNA is an important pre-requisite. Lemon balm contains high levels of polyphenols and polysaccharides, which pose a major challenge for the isolation of high-quality DNA. We compared different genomic DNA extraction protocols, including traditional phenol-chloroform DNA extraction protocols and two commercial kits for DNA purification for their ability to produce good-quality DNA from fresh leaves of five lemon balm genotypes. Quality and quantity of the DNA samples were determined using 0.8% agarose gel electrophoresis and a spectrophotometer. The DNA purity was further confirmed by PCR amplification using barley retrotransposon LTR base primers. The spectral quality of DNA as measured by the A260/A280 ratio ranged from 1.46 to 2.37. The Fermentase genomic DNA purification kit and the CTAB extraction protocol using PVP and ammonium acetate to overcome the high levels of polyphenols and polysaccharides yielded high-quality DNA with a mean A260/A280 ratio of 1.87. The quantity of DNA and its PCR purity were similar with all the protocols, but considering the time and cost required for extraction of DNA from a large number of samples, the CTAB protocol using PVP and ammonium acetate is suitable for lemon balm.

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a medicinal plant that is widely used as a sedative or calmant, spasmolytic and antibacterial agent and sleep aid. This has led to a high demand for lemon balm products, resulting in the extinction of this species in some of its natural habitats. Molecular techniques have increasingly been used in plant diversity conservation and isolation of PCR amplifiable genomic DNA is an important pre-requisite. Lemon balm contains high levels of polyphenols and polysaccharides, which pose a major challenge for the isolation of high-quality DNA. We compared different genomic DNA extraction protocols, including traditional phenol-chloroform DNA extraction protocols and two commercial kits for DNA purification for their ability to produce good-quality DNA from fresh leaves of five lemon balm genotypes. Quality and quantity of the DNA samples were determined using 0.8% agarose gel electrophoresis and a spectrophotometer. The DNA purity was further confirmed by PCR amplification using barley retrotransposon LTR base primers. The spectral quality of DNA as measured by the A260/A280 ratio ranged from 1.46 to 2.37. The Fermentase genomic DNA purification kit and the CTAB extraction protocol using PVP and ammonium acetate to overcome the high levels of polyphenols and polysaccharides yielded high-quality DNA with a mean A260/A280 ratio of 1.87. The quantity of DNA and its PCR purity were similar with all the protocols, but considering the time and cost required for extraction of DNA from a large number of samples, the CTAB protocol using PVP and ammonium acetate is suitable for lemon balm.