• Pavlina Sasheva Medical University of Sofia, Bulgaria
  • Iliana Ionkova Medical University of Sofia, Bulgaria
Keywords: thracian flax, in vitro, 6-methoxypodophyllotoxin, elicit


Secondary metabolites, such as lignans have important ecological role for plants and at the same time are lead structures for drug design in human medicine. The aryltetralin type of lignans are strong cytotoxic agents and are found in members of the genus Linum (Linaceae).

Objective: In vitro cultures of Linum thracicum ssp. thracicum were developed to identify a medium type and an elicitation technique that favor enhanced production of the aryltetralin lignan 6-methoxypodophyllotoxin.

Method: Methyl jasmonate and salicylic acid were administered to four cell lines of Linum thracicum ssp. thracicum for 24 and 72 hours. The 6-methoxypodophyllotoxin was identified by HPLS-ESI-MS/MS in positive ion mode, and its production was determined via quantitative HPLC analysis.

Results: A cell line, called Li-20, which was developed in reduced sucrose environment proved to be the fastest growing and the highest producing among the tested cell lines. Within 24 hours upon MJ elicitation, the eight-day-old Li-20 increased 2.3-fold in 6-methoxypodophyllotoxin content, reaching 4.3 mg on a dry weight basis. Negative or no effect was registered after salicylic acid application.

Conclusion: MJ elicitation is an effective strategy to improve the 6-methoxypodophyllotoxin accumulation within short periods of time, and an optimization of the cultivation medium beforehand is a prerequisite in the pipeline.


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