Psoralea Species: In Vitro Culture and Production of Furanocoumarins and Other Secondary Metabolites

  • F. Bourgaud
  • C. Nguyen
  • A. Guckert
Part of the Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry book series (AGRICULTURE, volume 33)


The genus Psoralea, L. (family Leguminosae) (Boardley et al. 1986) contains approximately 120 species distributed on the five continents. These plants are mainly found in South Africa (45 species), North America (30 species), and Australia (15 species) (Bourgaud et al. 1989). However, Psoralea plants are also present in Asia, South America, North Africa, and the mediterranean region. They are annual or perennial and they usually grow in arid or semi-arid zones. For instance, Australian Psoraleae are distributed in large parts of the bush when Eucalyptus and Acacia are represented. The unique European species, P. bituminosa, is a perennial plant from the mediterranean region and therefore is also able to resist drought and hot climate. The plants establish a symbiosis with Rhizobium bacteria of the “cowpea” type (slow-growing Rhizobium now classed as Bradyrhizobium). Therefore, the plant growth is strongly dependent on the root nodulation which occurs with these bacteria (Bourgaud et al. 1990). The morphology, of the genus Psoralea is very heterogeneous. The general shape can be herbaceous, as in P. cinerea or P. plumosa, or bushy as in P. martinii (all of them originating from Australia). Most species have leaves composed of three unequal leaflets, but some of them have one-foliated leaves, like P. martinii or the Indian P. corylifolia. The flowers have the general shape of Papilionoideae underfamily, and are usually purple or blue. The fruit is a small pod (3 to 8 mm long), indehiscent, one-seeded, and without albumen.


Hairy Root Hairy Root Culture Plant Cell Culture Callus Line Hairy Root Line 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Bourgaud
  • C. Nguyen
  • A. Guckert
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire Agronomie et Environnement-INRAENSAIAVandoeuvre-lès-NancyFrance

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