Production of secondary metabolites from cell and organ cultures: strategies and approaches for biomass improvement and metabolite accumulation

  • Hosakatte Niranjana MurthyEmail author
  • Eun-Jung Lee
  • Kee-Yoeup PaekEmail author


Plant cell and organ cultures have emerged as potential sources of secondary metabolites, which are used as pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, flavors, fragrances, coloring agents, biopesticides, and food additives. In recent years, various strategies have been developed to assess biomass accumulation and synthesis of secondary compounds in cultures. Biomass accumulation and metabolite biosynthesis are two-stage events, and the parameters that control the growth and multiplication of cultured cells/organs and biomass accumulation are controlled in the first stage. Parameters that assist with the biosynthesis of metabolites are controlled in the second stage. The selection of high-producing cells or organ clones; optimization of medium parameters such as suitable medium, salt, sugar, nitrogen, phosphate, and plant growth regulator levels; and physical factors such as temperature, illumination, light quality, medium pH, agitation, aeration, and environmental gas (e.g., oxygen, carbon dioxide, and ethylene) are controlled in the first stage of the culture process. Elicitation, replenishment of nutrient and precursor feeding, permeabilization, and immobilization strategies assist with the accumulation of metabolites and can be applied in the second stage of the culture process. By following stage-specific strategies, it is possible to produce large amounts of biomass with an increase in the accumulation of secondary compounds.


Bioreactor cultures Elicitation Immobilization Permeabilization Plant cell cultures Secondary metabolites 



Abscisic acid




Gamborg’s medium


2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid


Dry weight




Fresh weight


Gibberellic acid


High performance liquid chromatography


High performance thin layer chromatography




Indole-3-acetic acid


Indole-3-butyric acid


Linsmaier and Skoog medium


Murashige and Skoog medium


Naphthaleneacetic acid


Nuclear magnetic resonance


Schenk and Hildebrandt medium


Thin layer chromatography


Polyunsaturated fatty acids


Ultraviolet light



This study was supported by a grant from the Korea Healthcare Technology R&D project, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Republic of Korea (Grant No. A103017). Dr. H. N. Murthy is thankful to the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology, Republic of Korea for the award of Brainpool Fellowship (131S-4-3-0523); this study was also supported by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Planning (MSIP).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Center for the Development of Advanced Horticultural TechnologyChungbuk National UniversityCh’ongjuRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of BotanyKarnatak UniversityDharwadIndia
  3. 3.Cheongsol Biotech Co. Ltd., Industry Academic Cooperation Foundation Agribusiness Incubation Center, 205Chungbuk National UniversityCh’ongjuRepublic of Korea

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