Chemogenic silver nanoparticles enhance lignans and neolignans in cell suspension cultures of Linum usitatissimum L.

  • Adnan Zahir
  • Muhammad Nadeem
  • Waqar Ahmad
  • Nathalie Giglioli-Guivarc’h
  • Christophe Hano
  • Bilal Haider Abbasi
Original Article


Cell suspension culture of Linum usitatissimum is a great source of the novel and multipurpose medicinal compounds lignans and neolignans. Conventional culturing practices usually result in low yield of plant secondary metabolites; therefore, we conceived a successful mechanism to elicit production of lignans and neolignans in cell suspension cultures, simply, by addition of chemogenic Ag-NPs into the culture medium. A three stage feeding strategy (day 10, 10 and 15, and 10 and 20, respectively, after inoculation) spanning the log growth phase (day 10–20), was implemented to elicit cell suspension cultures of Linum usitatissimum. Though enhancing effects of Ag-NPs were observed at each stage, feeding Ag-NPs at day 10 resulted in comparatively, highest production of lignans (secoisolariciresinol diglucoside, 252.75 mg/l; lariciresinol diglucoside, 70.70 mg/l), neolignans (dehydrodiconiferyl alcohol glucoside, 248.20 mg/l; guaiacylglycerol-β-coniferyl alcohol ether glucoside, 34.76 mg/l), total phenolic content (23.45 mg GAE/g DW), total flavonoid content (11.85 mg QUE/g DW) and biomass (dry weight: 14.5 g/l), respectively. Furthermore, a linear trend in accumulation of lignans and neolignans was observed throughout log phase as compared to control, wherein growth non-associated trend in biosynthesis of these metabolites was observed. Optimum production of both lignans and neolignans occurred on day 20 of culture; a ten fold increase in secoisolariciresinol diglucoside, 2.8 fold increase in lariciresinol diglucoside, five fold increase in dehydrodiconiferyl alcohol glucoside and 1.75 fold increase in guaiacylglycerol-β-coniferyl alcohol ether glucoside was observed in production levels compared to control treatments, respectively.


Elicitation Log phase Lignans Neolignans Cell cultures Linum usitatissimum 



Dr. Bilal Haider Abbasi acknowledges research fellowship of Le Studium-Institute for Advanced Studies, Loire Valley, Orléans, France. This research was in part supported by Cosmetosciences, a global training and research program dedicated to the cosmetic industry. Located in the heart of the cosmetic valley, this program led by University of Orléans, France is funded by the Region Centre-Val de Loire. Adnan Zahir acknowledges the financial assistance of Higher Education Commission of Pakistan for his indigenous PhD scholarship.

Author contributions

AZ did the research work, data analyses and manuscript write-up. WA and MN assisted AZ with experiments. BHA conceived the idea, supervised the research work and reviewed the manuscript. NGG helped with experimental design and critically reviewed the manuscript. CH performed chemical synthesis of standards and HPLC analysis.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiotechnologyQuaid-i-Azam UniversityIslamabadPakistan
  2. 2.EA2106 Biomolecules et Biotechnologies VegetalesUniversite Francois-Rabelais de ToursToursFrance
  3. 3.Laboratoire de Biologie des Ligneux et des Grandes Cultures (LBLGC), Plant Lignans Team, INRA USC1328Université d’OrléansChartresFrance

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