The effects of chitosan and salicylic acid on elicitation of secondary metabolites and antioxidant activity of safflower under in vitro salinity stress

  • Pooran GolkarEmail author
  • Marzieh Taghizadeh
  • Zeinab Yousefian
Original Article


This study investigated the effects of different concentrations of two elicitors, namely chitosan (CHT) (25 and 50 mg L−1) and salicylic acid (SA) (50 and 100 mg L−1) on the production of secondary metabolites (SMs) and antioxidant activity of safflower callus under salinity stress. The content of total phenolics, total flavonoids, total flavonols, anthocyanin and antioxidant activity with 1,1-diphenyl-2 picrylhydrazyl assay (DPPH), significantly increased under salinity stress including 1.5% (w/v) sodium chloride. Under salinity stress, the highest content of total phenolics and total flavonoids were observed under elicitation by 50 (mg L−1) of SA and 25 (mg L−1) of CHT, but the highest callus growth rate (0.048 mm day−1), highest content of total flavonols (4.2 mg RE g−1 FW) and the highest DPPH activity (61.48% of inhibition) were observed under elicitation by 50 (mg L−1) of SA under salinity stress. This indicated partial superiority elicitation of SA over CHT for callus growth and SMs production of safflower under salinity stress. This new elicitation opens new avenues for the selection and exploitation of the best elicitors and their dosages for the enhancement of commercially important SMs in safflower as an important medicinal plant at cellular level.

Key message

Effects of chitosan and salicylic acid on elicitation of SMs of safflower under in vitro salinity stress.


Antioxidant activity Callus Chitosan Salicylic acid Total phenolic content 



Salicylic acid






Secondary metabolites


Reactive oxygen species


Total phenolics content


Total flavonoids content


Total flavonols content


2,4-Dichlrophenoxyacetic acid







The authors would like to thank Research Institute for Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11240_2019_1592_MOESM1_ESM.docx (459 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 459 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Institute for Biotechnology and BioengineeringIsfahan University of TechnologyIsfahanIran

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