Biotechnology of the Micropropagation of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants

  • Y. P. S. Bajaj
  • M. Furmanowa
  • O. Olszowska
Part of the Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry book series (AGRICULTURE, volume 4)

Abstract

Medicinal plants are of great interest in biotechnology; the study of methods by which the productive potential of living cells can be used in industrial processes, and the production of materials in agriculture, forestry, horticulture and medicine can be profitable. By the use of tissue cultures, various problems in plant biotechnology, such as micropropagation, biosynthesis and biotransformation of biologically active compounds, storage of plant cells and organs, and genetic engineering of higher plants can be solved (see Rainert and Bajaj 1977; Bajaj 1986). Among medicinal plants most research studies deal with the production and biotransformation of pharmacologically active principles by tissue culture. Many reviews have been published on this subject (Butcher 1977; Staba 1977, 1980, 1985; Barz and Ellis 1981; Furuya 1982; Fowler 1983; Berlin 1984; Heinstein 1985; Reichling 1985). Special attention has been paid to plants (Tables 1 and 2) which contain compounds (Figs. 1–3) useful in medicine and pharmacy. For example, Catharanthus roseus, which contains dimeric alkaloids vincristine and vinblastine (Fig. 1) used as anticancer agents (Oncovin and Velban), Dioscorea deltoidea with steroidal sapogenin-diosgenin (Fig. 2) used for the production of steroids, or Digitalis species with cardenolides as digoxin (Fig. 2) and digitoxin. Figures 1–3 give the structures of some natural products important for medicine. The plants containing these substances have been propagated in vitro.

Keywords

Caffeine Digoxin Kinetin Quinidine Quinine 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Y. P. S. Bajaj
    • 1
  • M. Furmanowa
    • 2
  • O. Olszowska
    • 2
  1. 1.New DelhiIndia
  2. 2.Department of Biology and Pharmaceutical BotanyMedical AcademyWarsawPoland

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