, Volume 131, Issue 1, pp 67–73 | Cite as

Phenolic synthesis and phenylalanine ammonia-lyase activity in suspension cultures of Acer pseudoplatanus L.

  • R. J. Westcott
  • G. G. Henshaw


Phenolic metabolism is influenced by the levels of sucrose, nitrogen and 2,4 dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) in the growth medium. Chromatographic evidence suggests that the principle products are polymers of leucocyanin, (-) epicatechin and (+) catechin, constituting condensed tannins. Comparison of ethanolic cell extracts with extracts from plant organs shows that although these compounds are present in parts of the plant they are not the major phenolics.

Cells maintained in a modified Heller's medium containing 9.0×10−7 M 2,4-D produce increased levels of tannins from mid passage (day 12) onwards. The presence of 2,4-D at 9.0×10−6 M supresses this response and increased initial sucrose levels cause the amount of tannins to be greater. At the period when tannin levels increase the standard medium is exhaused of its nitrogen sources, urea and nitrate. Increased initial nitrogen levels delay the beginning of increased tannin production and the addition of urea or 2,4-D to cultures already containing high levels of tannins causes the tannin content per gram fresh weight and per culture to decline. These results indicate an antagonism between tannin synthesis and nitrogen metabolism. The activity of phenylalanine ammonia-lyase EC (PAL) estimated by a spectrophotometric method in acetone powders derived from Acer cells increases three to four fold at the onset of increased tannin synthesis and then declines sharply. The phase of high PAL activity correlates with the exhausion of the medium nitrogen sources.


Tannin Catechin Epicatechin Condensed Tannin Acetone Powder 
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.



2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Butcher, D., Connolly, J.: An investigation of factors which influence the production of abnormal terpenoids by callus cultures of Andrographis paniculata Ness. J. exp. Bot. 22, 314–322 (1971)Google Scholar
  2. Camm, E.L., Towers, G.H.N.: Review article: Phenylalanine ammonium lyase. Phytochem. 12, 961–973 (1973)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Constabel, F., Shyluk, J.P., Gamborg, O.L.: The effect of hormones on anthocyanidin accumulation in cell cultures of Happlopappus gracilis. Planta (Berl.) 96, 306–316 (1971)Google Scholar
  4. Davies, M.E.: Multisample enzyme extraction from cultured cell suspensions. Plant Physiol. 47, 38–42 (1971)Google Scholar
  5. Davies, M.E.: Polyphenol synthesis in cell suspension cultures of Paul's Scarlet Rose. Planta (Berl.) 104, 50–65 (1972)Google Scholar
  6. Forrest, G.I.: Studies on the polyphenol metabolism of tissue cultures derived from the Tea plant (Camellia sinensis. L.). Biochem. J. 113, 765–772 (1969)PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Gamborg, O.L., Constabel, F., La Rue, T.A.G., Miller, R.A., Steck, N.: The influence of hormones on secondary metabolism in plant cell cultures. Colloques internationaux C.N.R.S. No. 193 Les cultures de tissues de plantes. (1973)Google Scholar
  8. Grisebach, H.: Recent investigations on the biosynthesis of flavonoids. Recent Adv. in Phytochem. 1, 339–353 (1968)Google Scholar
  9. Harborne, J.B.: Comparative biochemistry of the flavonoids. London-New York: Academic Press 1967Google Scholar
  10. Hahlbrock, K., Ebel, J., Oaks, A., Auden, J., Liersch, M.: Determination of specific growth stages of plant cell suspension cultures by monitoring conductivity changes in the medium. Planta (Berl.) 118, 75–84 (1974)Google Scholar
  11. Henshaw, G.G., Jha, K.K., Mehta, A.R., Shakeshaft, D.J., Street, H.E.: Studies on the growth in culture of plant cells. 1. Growth patterns in batch propagated suspension cultures. J. exp. Bot. 17, 362–377 (1966)Google Scholar
  12. Jones, L.H., Barrett, J.N., Gopal, P.P.S.: Growth and nutrition of a suspension culture of Pogostemon cablin Benth. (Patchouli). J. exp. Bot. 24, 145–158 (1973)Google Scholar
  13. Kaul, B., Staba, E.J.: Ammi visnaga. L. tissue cultures. Multilitre suspension growth and examination of furanochromes. Planta med. (Stuttg.) 15, 145–156 (1967)Google Scholar
  14. Koukol, J., Conn, E.E.: The metabolism of aromatic compounds in higher plants. IV. Purification and properties of phenylalanine ammonium-lyase from barley. J. Biol. Chem. 236, 2692–2698 (1961)PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Laumas, K.R., Seshardi, T.R.: J. Sci. Ind. Research (India) 17B 44 in Chap. 2 Isolation of flavonoid compounds from plant materials in The chemistry of flavonoid compounds. Ed.: Geissman, T.A. London: Pergamon Press 1958Google Scholar
  16. Lowry, O.H., Rosenbrough, N.J., Farr, A.L., Randell, K.J.: Protein measurement with the Folin phenol reagent. J. Biol. Chem. 192, 265–271 (1951)Google Scholar
  17. Nash, D.T.: A preliminary study of the metabolism of Paul's Scarlet Rose cells in suspension culture. Ph.D. thesis University of Birmingham (1968)Google Scholar
  18. Phillips, R.: Metabolic changes associated with division and differeniation of Acer pseudoplatanus. L. Ph.D. thesis University of Birmingham (1970)Google Scholar
  19. Reinhard, E., Corduan, G., Volk, O.H.: Über gewebekulturen von Ruta gravelens. Planta med. (Stuttg.) 16, 8–16 (1968)Google Scholar
  20. Simpkins, I., Collin, H.A., Street, H.E.: The growth of Acer pseudoplatanus. L. cells in synthetic liquid medium: Response to the carbohydrate, nitrogenous and growth hormone constituents. Physiol. Plant. 23, 385–396 (1970)Google Scholar
  21. Steck, W., Bailey, B.K., Shyluk, J.P., Gamborg, O.L.: Coumarins and alkaloids from cell cultures of Ruta graveolens. Phytochem. 10, 191–198 (1971)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Swain, T., Hillis, W.E.: The phenolic constituents of Prunus domestica. I. The quantitative analysis of phenolic constituents. J. Sci. Fd. Agric. 10, 63–68 (1959)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. J. Westcott
    • 1
  • G. G. Henshaw
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BotanyBirmingham UniversityBirminghamUK

Personalised recommendations