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Ultrahigh diterpenoid tanshinone production through repeated osmotic stress and elicitor stimulation in fed-batch culture of Salvia miltiorrhiza hairy roots

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Hyperosmotic stress (OS, created with 50 g/L sorbitol) and a yeast elicitor (YE, polysaccharide fraction of yeast extract) applied to Salvia miltiorrhiza hairy root cultures had a synergistic effect on the diterpenoid tanshinone production. With a single OS+YE treatment and nutrient feeding, the total tanshinone content of roots was increased by sevenfold (from 0.2 to 1.6 mg/g dry weight (dw)) and the volumetric yield by 13-fold (from 1.95 to 27.4 mg/L) compared to the batch control culture. With repeated feeding of OS and nutrient medium in an extended fed-batch culture process (i.e., 10 mL fresh medium with 50 g/L sorbitol 25 mg/L YE, every 5 days from day 21 to day 60), the total tanshinone content of roots was increased to 18.1 mg/g dw (or 1.8 wt.%) and the volumetric tanshinone yield to 145 mg/L, which were about 100-fold and 70-fold of those, respectively, in the batch control. Another interesting finding was the presence of root fragments (fine particles) with extremely high tanshinone content in the OS+YE treated cultures. It was also possible to reuse the sorbitol medium for the hairy root growth and tanshinone production to reduce the medium expenses.

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This work was supported by grants from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (G-U150, G-U268, and 1-BB80).

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Correspondence to Jian-Yong Wu.

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Wu, J., Shi, M. Ultrahigh diterpenoid tanshinone production through repeated osmotic stress and elicitor stimulation in fed-batch culture of Salvia miltiorrhiza hairy roots. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 78, 441–448 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-007-1332-y

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  • Salvia miltiorrhiza
  • Hairy root
  • Tanshinones
  • Osmotic stress
  • Yeast elicitor
  • Fed-batch culture