, Volume 74, Issue 8, pp 961–968 | Cite as

Elicitation of withaferin-A in hairy root culture of Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal using natural polysaccharides

  • Chandrasekaran Thilip
  • Valiyaparambath Musfir Mehaboob
  • Kandhan Varutharaju
  • Kunnampalli Faizal
  • Palusamy Raja
  • Abubakker Aslam
  • Appakan ShajahanEmail author
Original Article


Withaferin-A (WA) is a major bioactive compound in the roots of Withania somnifera. It is reported to possess inhibitory effects against breast cancer, liver cancer, melanoma cancer and prostate cancer cells. We developed an elicitation based on the hairy root culture (HRC) protocol for the enhancement of the WA production. Agrobacterium rhizogenes strain R1000 was used for the establishment of hairy root culture. PCR analysis confirmed the integration of the root loci C (rol C) gene in transformed roots. Elicitation of the hairy roots with natural polysaccharides of sodium alginate (SA), k-carrageenan (kC) and chitosan (CH) at various concentrations in the most cases resulted in a higher amount of WA compound. Among the various elicitors, 100 mg L−1 CH resulted 4.03-fold increase in WA production than control. This study is the first report in W. somnifera hairy roots, where the natural polysaccharides are used as elicitors for the large-scale production of WA.


Hairy root culture Polysaccharides Sodium alginate K-carrageenan Chitosan Withaferin 





Hairy root culture



rol C

Root loci C gene


Sodium alginate





Dr. A. Shajahan is thankful to the University Grants Commissions (UGC), Govt. of India, New Delhi for the financial support through UGC Major Research Project (F. No. 42-946/2013-SR). The authors also thankful to DST, Govt. of India for providing facilities through DST-FIST program.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Plant Science and Biodiversity Centre, Slovak Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chandrasekaran Thilip
    • 1
  • Valiyaparambath Musfir Mehaboob
    • 2
  • Kandhan Varutharaju
    • 3
  • Kunnampalli Faizal
    • 2
  • Palusamy Raja
    • 2
  • Abubakker Aslam
    • 2
  • Appakan Shajahan
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of BotanyPeriyar University Constituent College of Arts & ScienceNamakkalIndia
  2. 2.Plant Molecular Biology Laboratory, Department of BotanyJamal Mohamed CollegeTiruchirappalliIndia
  3. 3.Department of BotanySri Vijay Vidyalaya College of Arts & ScienceDharmapuriIndia

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