Ornithopus sativus Brot. (Serradella): In Vitro Culture, Phytochemical Studies, and Biotransformation
Ornithopus sativus Brot. (serradella, Portuguese for small saw, due to the shape of the leaves) (Fig. 1) belongs to the family Fabaceae. The leaves are 3–7 cm in length with imparipinnate sessile side leaves. The pedunculate umbel-like flowers are 5–8 mm in length, typically papillionaceous in shape, and of rose to white color. Like lupins, serradella prefers sandy soils but requires rather humid conditions. O. sativus is native to south-western Mediterranean Europe. Depending on the growth conditions, it is an annual or, as in a markedly mediterranean climate, a perennial species (Gladstones and McKeown 1977; Geister 1991). This plant has been cultivated since the middle of the 19th century in central Europe and later on to some extent in eastern Europe and in temperate regions of the Southern Hemisphere as a fodder plant. It easily becomes wild in areas of cultivation. In contrast with the lupins, serradella obviously is lacking in alkaloids and, therefore, is more compatible with cattle pasture. However, it has a rather small yield, and is competitive with clover only on poor sandy soils. Frequently, it is grown as an intermediate crop between cereals and root crops and, recently, it has been used as a green fertilizer. However, overall its economic importance is relatively limited.
KeywordsAlkaloid Tritium Palmitate Biotransformation Kinetin
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