Secció de Fisiologia i Biotecnologia Vegetal, Departament de Biologia, Sanitat i Medi Ambient, Facultat de Farmàcia i Ciències de l'Alimentació, Universitat de Barcelona, Joan XXIII 27-31, 08028, Barcelona, Spain. Electronic address: [Email]
Ruscus aculeatus is a threatened medicinal plant whose main bioactive components, the ruscogenins, have long been used in the treatment of hemorrhoids and varicose veins, but recently demonstrated activity against some types of cancer. Plant cell biofactories could constitute an alternative to the whole plant as a source of ruscogenins. In this pipeline, despite the in vitro recalcitrance of R. aculeatus, after many attempts we developed friable calli and derived plant cell suspensions, and their ruscogenin production was compared with that of organized in vitro plantlet and root-rhizome cultures. Root-rhizomes showed a higher capacity for biomass and ruscogenin production than the cell suspensions and the yields were greatly improved by elicitation with coronatine. Although ruscogenins accumulate in plants mainly in the root-rhizome, it was demonstrated that the aerial part could play an important role in their biosynthesis, as production was higher in the whole plant than in the root-rhizome cultures.