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Plant Cell Rep. 2019 Oct;38(10):1199-1215. doi: 10.1007/s00299-019-02415-z. Epub 2019 May 4.

Improvement of phytochemical production by plant cells and organ culture and by genetic engineering.

Author information

1
Department of Biology and Biotechnology, University of Pavia, Via Ferrata 9, 27100, Pavia, Italy. erik.nielsen@unipv.it.
2
Department of Biology and Biotechnology, University of Pavia, Via Ferrata 9, 27100, Pavia, Italy.

Abstract

Plants display an amazing ability to synthesize a vast array of secondary metabolites that are an inexhaustible source of phytochemicals, bioactive molecules some of which impact the human health. Phytochemicals present in medicinal herbs and spices have long been used as natural remedies against illness. Plant tissue culture represents an alternative to whole plants as a source of phytochemicals. This approach spares agricultural land that can be used for producing food and other raw materials, thus favoring standardized phytochemical production regardless of climatic adversities and political events. Over the past 20 years, different strategies have been developed to increase the synthesis and the extraction of phytochemicals from tissue culture often obtaining remarkable results. Moreover, the availability of genomics and metabolomics tools, along with improved recombinant methods related to the ability to overexpress, silence or disrupt one or more genes of the pathway of interest promise to open new exciting possibilities of metabolic engineering. This review provides a general framework of the cellular and molecular tools developed so far to enhance the yield of phytochemicals. Additionally, some emerging topics such as the culture of cambial meristemoid cells, the selection of plant cell following the expression of genes encoding human target proteins, and the bioextraction of phytochemicals from plant material have been addressed. Altogether, the herein described techniques and results are expected to improve metabolic engineering tools aiming at improving the production of phytochemicals of pharmaceutical and nutraceutical interest.

KEYWORDS:

Ectopic gene expression; Genome editing; Metabolic engineering; Phytochemicals; Plant biotechnology; Plant tissue culture

PMID:
31055622
DOI:
10.1007/s00299-019-02415-z

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