Enhancement of Cell and Organ Cultures in Herbal and Medicinal Plants


Rusli I., Sobri H., Norazlina N., Salahbiah A.M., & Azhar M.    
Agrotechnology and Biosciences Division, Malaysian Nuclear Agency, Bangi 43000, Kajang, Selangor




Enhancement of Cell and Organ Cultures in Herbal and Medicinal Plants


Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Seminar (MAPS 2008)


21st October - 22nd October 2008

Place Held

The Legend Hotel, Kuala Lumpur


Today millions of people around the world consume plant-based medicines for a wide range of medical disorders and the global market for medicinal plants is billions of dollars annually. Malaysia's herbal industry is considered to be one of the most dynamic enterprises with an estimated annual growth of 20% per year. The use of plants parts as medicines to treat various diseases or other health conditions has been recorded since prehistoric times. In spite of great advances in the area of synthetic chemistry, herbal plants remain the main source of medicinal compounds and other pharmaceutical products. The worldwide usage of herbal medications is due in part to the recognition of the value of traditional medical systems. Not surprisingly, the medicinal plants based business is flourishing at a dramatic pace, and at the expense of declining population of plant species, many of which are at the verge of extinction. So the various techniques that have been developed  for the mass production of medicianl plants in culture, lend themselves to the development of new plant-based medicines. Application of these technologies can benefit greatly from the incorporation of in vitro protocols for the preservation of germplasm, the mass production of consistent plant material and the optimization of environmental conditions for production of medicinally active secondary metabolites. Other applications may eventually include the development of molecular genetic transformation of medicinal plants species and the introduction of novel bioactive compound production into the cultured plant materials. But genetic application of these technologies in medicinal are limited. In the next decade, it is likely that the application of these technologies will lead to the development of new and various plants based medicines. Plant cell culture technology has been succesfully applied for the production of many useful secondary metabolites, including pharmaceuticals, pigments other fine chemicals. Medicinal plants such as Eurycoma longifolia and Labisia pumila; and aromatic plants such as Michelia alba and Aquilaria malaccensis have also been derived through cell culture technology. However, the processes need to be optimized before the product can be commercialized. Cell culture technology with the use of callus and somatic embryos and organ cultures of adventitious roots have been proven to be an efficient alternative for biomass production due to its fast growth and stable metabolite production. The approaches used for increasing the production of secindary metabolites include optimization of growth and production cuture media as well as elicitation and metabolic engineering.


Adventitious roots; bioactive compounds; cell culture; organ culture; secondary metabolites


Plenary: Session 3


Think Global, Act Local: A New Paradigm In Malaysian Herbal Industry (Prof. Emeritus Dr. Abdul Latif Ibrahim-UNISEL)