High-tech production of bioactive α-tocopherol from Corylus avellana adventitious roots by bioreactor culture

L. Bacchetta, M. Aramini, C. Bernardini, L.G. Sivakumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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The Corylus avellana L. (hazelnut) contains potent antioxidant molecules such as vitamin E, which may represent a preventative measure against chronic diseases, including cardiovascular and Alzheimer's pathologies, and relieve aging symptoms. The most bioactive antioxidant vitamin E of hazelnut is α-tocopherol. The potential role of α-tocopherol, which is related with its antioxidant functions, has been investigated in the prevention of cancer. Humans do not synthesise α-tocopherol which is obtained from plant dietary intake or pharmaceutical products. However, the natural α-tocopherol isomer (RRR) seems to be assimilated in a more efficient manner than the enantiomer (SSS) (Shintani and Ajjawi, 2004). The impossibility of obtaining the bioactive RRR-α-tocopherol by chemical synthesis for nutraceutical demand makes biotechnologies a tool for industrial exploitation. Several secondary metabolites of pharmaceutical interest are accumulated into the roots. As an alternative to GMO, currently the adventitious root culture for the production of relevant bioactive therapeutic molecules represents a novel strategy from research laboratory to large-scale industrial application. The present study was performed to establish a suitable technology for in vitro α-tocopherol production through C. avellana adventitious root culture. Manipulation by elicitor of the metabolic α-tocopherol pathway, showed the highest α-tocopherol production compared to the control. Based on our findings, elicitor is a key regulatory factor for adventitious root growth, biomass and greater glucosinolate content in in vitro culture. On the other hand, after a treatment of 100 μM/L of methyl jasmonic acid inoculated in the root culture, 5 days before harvesting, the bioactive antioxidant increased about 4 times comparing to the control. Thus, the established protocol for α-tocopherol production by means of bioreactors, hazelnut biofactory can produce natural vitamin E, which is pesticide-free, with reduced labour cost and year-round production.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)713 - 716
Number of pages4
JournalActa Horticulturae
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Horticulture

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