3 Biotech

, 9:266 | Cite as

Strategy for early callus induction and identification of anti-snake venom triterpenoids from plant extracts and suspension culture of Euphorbia hirta L.

  • R. Amos Samkumar
  • Dhanaraj Premnath
  • R. S. David Paul RajEmail author
Original Article


Euphorbia hirta L. from the family of Euphorbiaceae is an annual herb, which grows as a roadside weed in most tropical countries. It is prominently used by the traditional healers in rural India for the treatment of snakebites. However, the mechanisms and the major bioactive compounds behind its inhibition activity are relatively unknown. From our preliminary in silico studies, it was found that a group of pentacyclic triterpenoids from this plant are playing a major role in inhibiting the snake venom proteins. The present study was aimed at standardizing methods for obtaining callus from this medicinal plant at a much faster rate by hormone pretreatment of explants and, thus, by developing suspension cultures to obtain bioactive secondary metabolites in vitro. The results were promising that longer incubation of explants with hormone treatment showed early induction of callus. The major bioactive compounds responsible for the anti-snake venom activity were characterized from natural plant material as well as from suspension cultures, and the efficiency was found to be relatively high. The secondary metabolite analysis from suspension culture and natural plant extracts revealed that a major compound ‘Taraxerol’ and its derivatives was found abundant along with few other triterpenoids. This compound showed high inhibitory activity against pit viper snake venoms from our in silico studies with molecular docking tools. Hence, this study with identification of potential bioactive compounds against snake venom with standardization of In vitro culture methods would help in developing natural alternative medicine for snakebites in near future.


Euphorbia hirta Triterpenoids Taraxerol Callus cultures Docking Snake anti-venom 



The authors would like to thank the Department of Biosciences and technology, Karunya Institute of Technology and Sciences, Coimbatore for their support, laboratory facilities, and for providing fund from Karunya student projects scheme. No ethical considerations were involved in this project. The authors would like to thank Dr. Jebasingh, Department of Chemistry, KITS for HPLC analysis, Dr. Premnath, Department of Bioinformatics, KITS for compound separation analysis and docking studies, and JSS College of pharmacy, Ooty, for LC–MS analysis.

Author contributions

The authors RAS and RSDP conceived the idea and under the guidance of RSDPR the experiments were performed by RAS. RSDP edited and proof read the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that no potential conflict of interest was intended and declared none.


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Copyright information

© King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biotechnology, School of Agriculture and BiosciencesKarunya Institute of Technology and SciencesCoimbatoreIndia

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