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

Xiuchun Ge, Jianyong Wu

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57 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-188
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Microbiology
  • Bioengineering
  • Microbiology (medical)

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