In Vitro Seedlings as Dynamic Explants for Establishment of Root Cultures of Pyrenacantha volubilis Hook. for Camptothecin Production

  • S. Hima
  • C. K. Midhu
  • G. Krishnakumar
  • K. SatheeshkumarEmail author
Research Article


Pyrenacantha volubilis, an important medicinal plant, is reported to contain camptothecin (CPT), a high value anticancer compound with a global demand of USD 2.2 billion in 2008. Isolated root cultures of P. volubilis could be established using radicle-developed roots from the seeds cultured in 0.3 mg L−1 kinetin. The tap roots isolated from the germinated seeds were transferred to half-strength MS liquid media supplemented with 0.3 mg L−1 indole-3-acetic acid and 0.2 mg L−1 indole-3-butyric acid to establish isolated root cultures and were further subcultured into the same media to study the growth and CPT production over a period of 60 days at an interval of 10 days. Maximum biomass (3.34 ± 0.19 g) was obtained from roots cultured in MS liquid media augmented with 0.3 mg L−1 IAA and 0.2 mg L−1 IBA with alternating salt strength over a period of 45 (17 + 28) days. The concentration of CPT in the in vitro root-derived culture sample was estimated through HPLC and recorded as 0.135% (on g DW basis, 30th day) which is comparable to that of field grown roots (0.13%). The overall results obtained with the present experiment demonstrated the use of in vitro seedlings as a dynamic explant source for root culture establishment and the feasibility of the system for further use in the production of CPT.


Kinetin Root culture Camptothecin estimation In vitro seedlings Pyrenacantha volubilis 



The authors are thankful to Kerala State Council for Science Technology and Environment (KSCSTE) (Grant No. 03/FSHP/2013/CSTE) for financial assistance as Ph.D. fellowship and the Director, JNTBGRI for providing facilities.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to publish this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© The National Academy of Sciences, India 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Hima
    • 1
  • C. K. Midhu
    • 1
  • G. Krishnakumar
    • 2
  • K. Satheeshkumar
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Biotechnology and Bioinformatics DivisionJawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research InstitutePalodeIndia
  2. 2.Department of BiotechnologyUniversity of KeralaThiruvananthapuramIndia

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