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Systematics, Epidermal defense and Bioprospecting of Wild Orchids

This thesis presents the systematics, epidermal defense, and bioprospecting of wild orchids.

Kusuma Wati, R.
25 maart 2021
Thesis in Leiden University Scholarly Publications

This thesis presents the systematics, epidermal defense, and bioprospecting of wild orchids. I mainly targeted Indonesian orchids, with particular emphasis on the genus Glomera with 169 species. Four main challenges of this group of orchids were tackled. First of all, a web-based multilingual interactive key of Glomera, one of the lesser-known genera in the horticulturally popular necklace orchids, was constructed. This key simplifies species identification for further taxonomic revisions by both specialists and amateur orchid enthusiasts. Secondly, identification of non-flowering Glomera specimens in botanical gardens was sped up by producing DNA barcodes of herbarium preserved flowering type specimens. These DNA barcodes were matched with data obtained from vegetative fresh plants. Thirdly, improving protection of orchids in botanic gardens and nature reserves against herbivory was investigated. Centrifuge and feeding experiments showed that leaf trichomes and wax layers reduce both the adhesion and appetite of herbivorous snails. Lastly, bioprospecting was explored to help financing the maintenance of orchid collections in botanical gardens and protection of nature reserves. For this, traditional medicinal use was compiled from the literature and plotted on a molecular phylogeny. Potential clades with high antimicrobial potential were traced by employing two different methods: organ targeted and biological response based. The latter proved to be more effective. The research presented in this thesis provides new approaches to improve identification, protection against herbivory, and bioprospecting of wild orchids cultivated in botanical gardens and preserved in nature reserves.

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