Carthamus tinctorius L. (Safflower): Production of Vitamin E in Cell Cultures

  • Tsutomu Furuya
  • Takafumi Yoshikawa
Part of the Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry book series (AGRICULTURE, volume 15)


Safflower, Carthamus tinctorius L. (family Compositae), consists of tubular florets, which are light red in color. The florets are used for much the same purposes as saffron, the dried stigma of Crocus sativus L., and are sometimes admixed with it and occasionally substituted for it (Claus et al. 1970). Although the plant does not exist as a wild species, the same genus, Carthamus oxyacantha Bieb., is indigeneous to Central Asia, such as Caucasus, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and also cultivated in India. Thus, it is supposed that the C tinctorius, long cultivated in China and Japan as a source of crude drug, was brought from Central Asia. The red florets are widely used as a crude drug in Oriental medicine and natural dye, especially in silk cloth or rouge (Kitamura 1978). A water-soluble yellow dye, called safflower yellow, also used to be extracted from it as well as an alcohol-soluble red dye, saffower carmine, which is carthamin, a chalcone glycoside (Obara and Onodera 1979).


Crocus Sativus Shikimic Acid Tocopherol Content Casamino Acid Spinach Chloroplast 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tsutomu Furuya
    • 1
  • Takafumi Yoshikawa
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Pharmaceutical SciencesKitasato UniversityMinato-ku, Tokyo 108Japan

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