Elicitation: An Alternative Approach Towards Commercialization of Secondary Metabolite Production

  • Shiwali Sharma
  • Anwar Shahzad


Plants cells are considered to be excellent producers of a broad variety of chemical compounds. Many of these compounds are of high economic value such as various drugs, flavors, dyes, fragrances and insecticides. Unfortunately, the production of these compounds through the extraction of organs and seeds of whole plant is becoming more difficult since the natural growing areas of many of the species are being urbanized. Plant tissue culture not only constitutes a viable method to preserve the species, but also represent a constant and stable source of target alkaloids. Rapid strides in tissue culture techniques over the years have led to the possibility of growing plant cells as microorganisms in liquid media, for their utilization in the synthesis of a wide range of chemicals and pharmaceuticals, but commercial viability and economic feasibility are factors to be reckoned with in such industrial ventures. Various methods have been applied in order to enhance the productivity of such useful plant products; an efficient method has been the use of “elicitors”. Elicitors are chemicals or biological factors able to induce physiological and biochemical changes in the target cell. Stimulating effect of elicitors on secondary metabolite production is related to the interaction between elicitors and plant cells, elicitor signal transduction and defense response. Furthermore, the increased use of genetic tools and an emerging picture of the structure and regulation of pathways for secondary metabolism will provide the basis to move from a brute-force empirical approach for the optimization of production conditions.


Hairy Root Hairy Root Culture Plant Cell Culture Secondary Metabolite Production Hairy Root Line 
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.



 Dr. Anwar Shahzad gratefully acknowledges the financial support provided by UGC and UP-CST in the form of research projects (vide no. 39-369/2010 SR and vide no. CST/D3836 respectively). Dr. Shiwali Sharma is also thankful to UGC, for the award of Basic Scientific Research Fellowship in Science (1st April 2010) for providing research assistance.



An elicitor, in biology, is a molecule that enhances the production of another.


Any of various antimicrobial chemical substances produced by plants to combat infection by a pathogen (as a fungus).


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Plant Biotechnology Section, Department of BotanyAligarh Muslim UniversityAligarhIndia

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