Knautia sarajevensis is an endemic plant of the Dinaric Alps and is mainly distributed on Bosnian Mountains. Due to the quite large flower heads and easy maintenance, this plant has a potential use as a substitute ornamental plant for K. arvensis in perennial beds. The current study evaluated the germination process in different treatments in an attempt to suppress dormancy and increase germination rate, and to develop a successful protocol for micropropagation. An over 60% germination rate was achieved through cultivation of seeds on MS basal medium with reduced mineral nutrient composition and the absence of sucrose. On the other hand, a below 10% germination rate was achieved with untreated seeds. Suppression of apical dominance was achieved through application of high concentrations of kinetin, apical shoot decapitation or cultivation of shoots in liquid media. Overall, liquid cultures were more successful as a micropropagation system for this plant. Shoots spontaneously developed roots on multiplication treatments and were successfully acclimatized. Moreover, phenolic compound profile was analysed in the light of the possible medicinal potential of this plant. Variable amounts of total phenolic compounds as well as individual phenolics were recorded, according to treatment and solidification of media. An increase in rosmarinic acid content was reported for kinetin treatments and acclimatized plants comparing to mother plants in natural habitat. The present study shows that choice of cytokinin concentration, explant type as well as culture type influences not only shoot proliferation and apical dominance suppression but also in vitro production of phenolics.
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