3 Biotech

, 8:412 | Cite as

Elicitation of silver nanoparticles enhanced the secondary metabolites and pharmacological activities in cell suspension cultures of bitter gourd

  • Ill-Min Chung
  • Kaliyaperumal Rekha
  • Govindasamy Rajakumar
  • Muthu ThiruvengadamEmail author
Original Article


This study describes the influence of bio-synthesized silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) on phytochemicals and their pharmacological activities in the cell suspension cultures (CSC) of bitter gourd. To standardize the effect of sucrose, plant growth regulators, medium, AgNPs and growth kinetics for the biomass and bioactive compounds accumulation in CSC of bitter gourd. The medium comprising MS salts, sucrose (30 g/L) with 2,4-D (1.0 mg/L) and TDZ (0.1 mg/L) at 28 days of CSC was appropriate for biomass and bioactive compound accumulation. The contents of silver, malondialdehyde and hydrogen peroxide were highly elevated in AgNPs (10 mg/L)-elicited CSC when compared with non-elicited CSC. AgNPs (5 mg/L) elicited CSC extracts had significantly enhanced the production of total phenolic (3.5 ± 0.2 mg/g), and flavonoid (2.5 ± 0.06 mg/g) contents than in the control CSC extracts (2.5 ± 0.1 and 1.6 ± 0.05 mg/g). AgNPs (5 mg/L) elicited CSC showed a higher amount of flavonols (1822.37 µg/g), hydroxybenzoic (1713.40 µg/g) and hydroxycinnamic (1080.10 µg/g) acids than the control CSC (1199, 1394.42 and 944.52 µg/g, respectively). Because of these metabolic changes, the pharmacological activities (antioxidant, antidiabetic, antibacterial, antifungal and anticancer) were high in the AgNPs (5 mg/L)-elicited CSC extracts in bitter gourd. The study suggested the effectiveness of elicitation process in enhancing the accumulation of phenolic compounds and pharmacological activities. AgNPs-elicited CSC offered an effective and favorable in vitro method to improve the production of bioactive compounds for potential uses in pharmaceutical industries.


Cell suspension culture Pharmacological activity Phenolic compounds Reactive oxygen species Silver nanoparticles 



2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid


Silver nitrate


Silver nanoparticles


Aluminum chloride


Antioxidant activity


Benzyl amino purine


Potassium ferricyanide


Potassium acetate


Cell suspension culture


Dinitrosalicylic acid




Hydrogen peroxide


Ammonium molybdate


Indole acetic acid


Inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry




Murashige and Skoog


Thiazolyl blue tetrazolium bromide


Naphthalene acetic acid


Sodium hypochlorite


Ammonia solution


Plant growth regulators


Reactive oxygen species


Trichloroacetic acid




Transmission electron microscopy


Ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography



This paper was supported by the KU Research Professor Program of Konkuk University, Seoul, South Korea.

Author contributions

MT designed and performed the experiment and also wrote the manuscript. IMC, KR and GR analyzed the experiments and helped to write the manuscript. All authors read and approved the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ill-Min Chung
    • 1
  • Kaliyaperumal Rekha
    • 2
  • Govindasamy Rajakumar
    • 1
  • Muthu Thiruvengadam
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Applied Bioscience, College of Life and Environmental SciencesKonkuk UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of Environmental and Herbal ScienceTamil UniversityThanjavurIndia

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