Production of Industrial Phytochemicals

  • Sant Saran Bhojwani
  • Prem Kumar Dantu


The higher plants synthesize an overwhelming range of small organic molecules that are not directly involved in primary metabolic processes of growth and development of the plant but serve it in a variety of other ways, such as chemical defence against microorganisms, insects and higher predators, and as attractant of pollinators and seed dispersing agents. Many of these natural phytochemicals have been used by man to produce a large number of commercial products. The plants are renewable natural resource for these valuable compounds produced at normal temperature and pressure without emitting toxic effluents or gasses. However, due to the dwindling populations of these plants in nature and fluctuations in the yield of industrial phytochemicals due to environmental changes it is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain enough economically important metabolites from whole plants. Cell and tissue cultures have proved to be an attractive alternative for the production of industrial phytochemicals. Several strategies, such as manipulation of the culture conditions, genetic enhancement of plant material, application of biotic and abiotic elicitors, biotransformation of low value compounds into high value metabolites by living cell cultures and permeabilization and immobilization of cells have been applied to increase the yield of desired phytochemicals by cultured cells. Hairy root and hairy-like adventitious root cultures have been established for certain system to obtain higher yields of the metabolites. Bioreactors of various types have been designed to scale up the culture of plant cells and hairy roots for commercial production of industrial phytochemicals. Some of the phytochemicals produced in cell and root cultures have been commercialized. Production of recombinant proteins by plant cells has enabled a company in USA to obtain government clearance for the production of plant cell derived vaccine.


Hairy Root Root Culture Hairy Root Culture Secondary Metabolite Production Indole Alkaloid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Suggested Further Reading

  1. Cai Z, Kastell A, Knorr D (2012) Exudation: an expanding technique for continuous production and release of secondary metabolites from plant cell suspension and hairy root cultures. Plant Cell Rep 31:461-477Google Scholar
  2. Chattopadhyay S, Srivastava AK, Bisaria VS (2004) Production of phytochemicals in plant cell bioreactors. In: Srivastava PS et al (eds) Plant biotechnology and molecular markers. Anamaya, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  3. Chia TF, Ng I (2003) Production of resveratrol in transgenic red lettuce for chemoprevention of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. In: Bhojwani SS, Soh WY (eds) Agrobiotechnology and plant tissue culture. Science Publishers, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  4. Constabel F, Kurz WGW (1999) Cell differentiation and secondary metabolite production. In: Soh WY, Bhojwani SS (eds) Morphogenesis in plant tissue cultures. Kluwer Academic Publishers, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  5. Dantu PK, Bhojwani SS (2005) Secondary metabolite production in plant tissue cultures: a green approach. In: Srivastava MM, Sanghani R (eds) Chemistry for green environment. Narosa, DelhiGoogle Scholar
  6. Dhawan S, Shasany AK, Arif NA, Kumar A, Khanuja SPS (2003) Menthol tolerant clones of Mentha arvensis: approach for in vitro selection of menthol rich genotype. Plant Cell Tiss Organ Cult 75:87–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fujita Y (1990) The production of industrial compounds. In: Bhojwani SS (ed) Plant tissue culture: applications and limitations. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  8. Gupta SD, Ibaraki Y (eds) (2006) Plant tissue culture engineering. Springer, NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  9. Jouhikainen K, Lindgren L, Jouhikainen T, Hiltunen R, Teeri TH, Oksman-Caldentey KM (1999) Enhancement of scopolomaine production in Hyoscyamus muticus L. hairy root cultures by genetic engineering. Planta 208:545–551CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Khanuja SPS (2006) The power of plant metabolome: Secondary metabolites as high value bioactive phytoceuticals. Presidential Address, 76th Annual Session of The Indian National Academy of Sciences, India, pp 1–10Google Scholar
  11. Lee EK, Jin YW, Park JH, Yoo YM, Hong SM, Amir R, Yan Z, Kwon E, Elfick A, Tomlinson S, Halbritter F, Waibel T, Yun BW, Loake GJ (2010) Cultured cambial meristematic cells as a source of plant natural products. Nature Biotechnol 28, 1213–1217Google Scholar
  12. Maheshwari P, Garg S, Kumar A (2008) Taxoids: biosynthesis and in vitro production. Biotechnol Mol Biol Rev 3:71–87Google Scholar
  13. Sato F (2003) Secondary metabolites and biotechnology in plants. In: Bhojwani SS, Soh WY (eds) Agrobiotechnology and plant tissue culture. Science Publishers, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  14. Sato F, Hashimoto A, Hachiya A, Tamura K, Choi KB, Morishige T, Fujimoto H, Yamada Y (2001) Metabolic engineering of plant alkaloid biosynthesis. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 98:367–372PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Sevón N, Oksman-Caldentey KM (2002) Agrobacterium rhizogenes-mediated transformation: root cultures as a source of alkaloids. Planta Med 68:859–868PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Srivastava S, Srivastava AK (2007) Hairy root culture for mass-production of high-value secondary metabolites. Crit Rev Biotechnol 27:29–43PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Son SH, Choi SM, Lee YH, Choi KB, Yun SR, Kim JK, Park HJ, Kwon OW, Noh EW, Seon JH Park YJ (2000) Large scale growth and taxane production in cell cultures of Taxus cuspidata (Japanese Yew) using a novel bioreactor. Plant Cell Rep 19:628–638Google Scholar
  18. Wink M, Alfermann AW, Franke R, Wetterauer B, Distl M, Windhövel J, Krohn O, Fuss E, Garden H, Mohagheghzadeh A, Wildi E, Ripplinger P (2005) Sustainable bioproduction of phytochemicals by plants in vitro cultures: anticancer agents. Plant Genet Resour Charact Util 3:90–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ye X, Al-Babili S, Kloti A, Zhang J, Lucca P, Beyer P, Potrykus I (2000) Engineering the provitamin A (β-carotene) biosynthetic pathway into (carotenoid free) rice endosperm. Science 287:303–305PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Yun DJ, Hashimoto T, Yamada Y (1992) Metabolic engineering of medicinal plants: transgenic Atropa belladonna with an improved alkaloid composition. Proc Nat Acad Sci USA 89:11799–11803PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer India 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BotanyDayalbagh Educational Institute (Deemed University)AgraIndia

Personalised recommendations