Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 68, Issue 2, pp 183–188 | Cite as

Induction and potentiation of diterpenoid tanshinone accumulation in Salvia miltiorrhiza hairy roots by β-aminobutyric acid

  • Xiuchun Ge
  • Jianyong WuEmail author
Biotechnological Products and Process Engineering


The non-protein amino acid β-aminobutyric acid (BABA) is a proven inducer of plant defense against pathogens. This work examines its effect on the production of diterpenoid tanshinones in Salvia miltiorrhiza hairy root cultures, both separately and in combination with a yeast elicitor (YE, the carbohydrate fraction of yeast extract). In the absence of YE, BABA at 0.1, 1 and 2 mM caused a dose-dependent enhancement of tanshinone accumulation, with up to a 4.5-fold increase (from 0.24 to 1.09 mg/g DW) in total content of three major tanshinones (cryptotanshinone, tanshinone I and tanshinone IIA) in the hairy roots. The combination of BABA with YE treatment further enhanced tanshinone production, but only when the BABA treatment was applied to the culture a few days before the YE treatment. Compared with methyl jasmonate, BABA was more effective in enhancing tanshinone production. A 3-day pretreatment with 1 mM BABA followed by YE-treatment, increased the total tanshinone content of roots by 9.4 times to 2.26 mg/g cells, and the volumetric tanshinone yield of culture by 6.3 times (from 3.2 to 20.1 mg/l). The results suggest that BABA can strongly potentiate elicitor-induced secondary metabolism in plant tissue cultures.


Hairy Root Hairy Root Culture Secondary Metabolite Production Tanshinone Cryptotanshinone 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was supported by grants from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PD93 and ASD fund) and the Areas of Excellence Scheme established under the University Grants Committee of the Hong Kong SAR, China (AoE/P-10/2001)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Applied Biology and Chemical TechnologyThe Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityHung Hom, KowloonHong Kong
  2. 2.Department of Plant Protection, College of Agriculture and BiotechnologyZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina

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