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Review Article

Caffeoylquinic Acids with Potential Biological Activity from Plant In vitro Cultures as Alternative Sources of Valuable Natural Products

[ Vol. 26 , Issue. 24 ]


Ewa Skała*, Joanna Makowczyńska, Joanna Wieczfinska, Tomasz Kowalczyk and Przemysław Sitarek   Pages 2817 - 2842 ( 26 )


Background: For a long time, the researchers have been looking for new efficient methods to enhance production and obtain valuable plant secondary metabolites, which would contribute to the protection of the natural environment through the preservation of various plant species, often rare and endangered. These possibilities offer plant in vitro cultures which can be performed under strictly-controlled conditions, regardless of the season or climate and environmental factors. Biotechnological methods are promising strategies for obtaining the valuable plant secondary metabolites with various classes of chemical compounds including caffeoylquinic acids (CQAs) and their derivatives. CQAs have been found in many plant species which are components in the daily diet and exhibit a wide spectrum of biological activities, including antioxidant, immunomodulatory, antihypertensive, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, hepato- and neuroprotective, anti-hyperglycemic, anticancer, antiviral and antimicrobial activities. They have also been found to offer protection against Alzheimer’s disease, and play a role in weight reduction and lipid metabolism control, as well as modulating the activity of glucose-6-phosphatase involved in glucose metabolism.

Methods: This work presents the review of the recent advances in use in vitro cultures of various plant species for the alternative system to the production of CQAs and their derivatives. Production of the secondary metabolites in in vitro culture is usually performed with cell suspension or organ cultures, such as shoots and adventitious or transformed roots. To achieve high production of valuable secondary metabolites in in vitro cultures, the optimization of the culture condition is necessary with respect to both biomass accumulation and metabolite content. The optimization of the culture conditions can be achieved by choosing the type of medium, growth regulators or growth conditions, selection of high-productivity lines or culture period, supplementation of the culture medium with precursors or elicitor treatments. Cultivation for large-scale in bioreactors and genetic engineering: Agrobacterium rhizogenes transformation and expression improvement of transcriptional factor or genes involved in the secondary metabolite production pathway are also efficient strategies for enhancement of the valuable secondary metabolites.

Results: Many studies have been reported to obtain highly productive plant in vitro cultures with respect to CQAs. Among these valuable secondary metabolites, the most abundant compound accumulated in in vitro cultures was 5-CQA (chlorogenic acid). Highly productive cultures with respect to this phenolic acid were Leonurus sibiricus AtPAP1 transgenic roots, Lonicera macranthoides and Eucomia ulmoides cell suspension cultures which accumulated above 20 mg g-1 DW 5-CQA. It is known that di- and triCQAs are less common in plants than monoCQAs, but it was also possible to obtain them by biotechnological methods.

Conclusion: The results indicate that the various in vitro cultures of different plant species can be a profitable approach for the production of CQAs. In particular, an efficient production of these valuable compounds is possible by Lonicera macranthoides and Eucomia ulmoides cell suspension cultures, Leonurus sibiricus transformed roots and AtPAP1 transgenic roots, Echinacea angustifolia adventitious shoots, Rhaponticum carthamoides transformed plants, Lavandula viridis shoots, Sausera involucrata cell suspension and Cichorium intybus transformed roots.


Caffeoylquinic acids, plant in vitro cultures, biological activities, Alzheimer’s disease, Cultivation, triCQAs.


Department of Biology and Pharmaceutical Botany, Medical University of Lodz, Muszynskiego 1, 90-151 Lodz, Department of Biology and Pharmaceutical Botany, Medical University of Lodz, Muszynskiego 1, 90-151 Lodz, Department of Immunopathology, Medical University of Lodz, Zeligowskiego 7/9, 90-752 Lodz, Department of Molecular Biotechnology and Genetics, University of Lodz, Banacha 12/16, 90-237, Lodz, Department of Biology and Pharmaceutical Botany, Medical University of Lodz, Muszynskiego 1, 90-151 Lodz

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