Energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence (ED-XRF) technique has been used for the determination of trace element profile during different developmental stages of somatic embryogenic callus of an economically important medicinal plant, Plantago ovata Forssk. Somatic embryogenesis is a plant tissue culture-based technique, which is used for plant regeneration and crop improvement. In the present investigation, elemental content was analysed using ED-XRF technique during different developmental stages and also determine the effect of additives-casein hydrolysate and coconut water on the trace elemental profile of embryogenic callus tissue of P. ovata. Subsequent experiments showed significant alteration in the concentration of K, Ca, Mn, Fe, Zn, Cu, Br, and Sr in both the embryogenic and non-embryogenic callus. Higher K, Ca, Fe, Cu, and Zn accumulation was in embryogenic tissue stage compared to other stages, suggesting these elements are crucial for successful embryogenesis. The results suggest that this information could be useful for formulating a media for in vitro embryo induction of P. ovata. © 2009 Humana Press Inc.