Influence of environmental biotic factors on the content of saponins in plants
Saponins occur constitutively in many plant species as part of their defense system. However, saponin content in plants seems to be dynamic, responding to many external factors including various biotic stimuli connected to herbivory attack and pathogenic infection, as well as involved in plant mutualistic symbioses with rhizobial bacteria and mycorrhizal fungi. Thus, not only saponins influence the living organisms interacting with plants, but in turn, all these interactions can impact the plant saponin content. According to their constitutive occurrence in plants, saponins are regarded mainly as phytoanticipins. Nevertheless, some presented data clearly point out to induced biosynthesis of saponins, especially in plant response to insect herbivory or inoculation with root symbionts, while the best studied examples of interactions between plants and their microbial pathogens show rather qualitative change of saponin composition based on chemical modifications of preformed, pre-infectional precursors. Simultaneously, despite evident inducibility of saponin production in plant cell cultures, the possible role of these compounds as phytoalexins synthesized in intact plants after pathogen infection is still not well documented. Some practical patterns and ecological consequences of biotic factors influencing saponin content in plants are briefly highlighted, with the special attention paid to microbial inoculants applied for optimisation of saponin synthesis in cultivated medicinal plants.
KeywordsBiotic factors Herbivory Pathogenic infection Saponin content Symbioses
Supported by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education grant No 304 117 32/4335.
- Hostettmann KA, Marston A (eds) (1995) Saponins. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
- Oleszek W, Hoagland RE, Zablotowicz RM (1999) Ecological significance of plant saponins. In: Inderjit, Dakshini KMM, Foy CL (eds) Principles and practices in plant ecology: allelochemical interactions. CRC Press LLC, Boca Raton, pp 451–465Google Scholar
- Prasad R, Badge US, Puspangadan P, Varma A (2008) Bacopa monnieri L.: Pharmacological aspects and case study involving Piriformosa indica. Int J Integr Biol 3:100–108Google Scholar
- Rajeshkumar S, Nisha MC, Selvaraj T (2008) Variability in growth, nutrition and phytochemical constituents of Plectrantus amboinicus (Lour) Spreng. as influenced by indigenous arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Mj Int J Sci Tech 2:431–439Google Scholar
- Suzuki H, Reddy MSS, Naoumkina M, Aziz N, May GD, Huhman DV, Sumner LW, Blount JW, Mendez P, Dixon RA (2005) Methyl jasmonate and yeast elicitor induce differential transcriptional and metabolic re-programming in cell suspension cultures of the model legume Medicago truncatula. Planta 220:696–707PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Szakiel A, Kabacińska B (2009) Triterpenoids in allelopathic potential of plants of Vaccinium genus. Acta Biochim Polon 56(Suppl. 2):76–77Google Scholar
- Szakiel A, Pączkowski C, Henry M (2009) Seasonal changes of triterpene acids and lignane content in Vaccinium myrtillus L. plant and its habitat. International conference on saponins: new trends in saponins. Nancy (France) Abstracts p 59Google Scholar