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Open AccessArticle

Cell Suspensions of Cannabis sativa (var. Futura): Effect of Elicitation on Metabolite Content and Antioxidant Activity

1
Institute of Agricultural Biology and Biotechnology, National Research Council, Via Bassini 15, 20133 Milan, Italy
2
Institute of Chemical Sciences and Technologies “Giulio Natta”, Lab. NMR, National Research Council, Via Bassini 15, 20133 Milan, Italy
3
Institute of Agricultural Biology and Biotechnology, National Research Council, Via Moruzzi 1, 56124 Pisa, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors equally contributed to this work.
Academic Editor: Marcello Iriti
Molecules 2019, 24(22), 4056; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24224056
Received: 23 October 2019 / Revised: 6 November 2019 / Accepted: 7 November 2019 / Published: 9 November 2019
Cannabis sativa L. is one of the most-studied species for its phytochemistry due to the abundance of secondary metabolites, including cannabinoids, terpenes and phenolic compounds. In the last decade, fiber-type hemp varieties have received interest for the production of many specialized secondary metabolites derived from the phenylpropanoid pathway. The interest in these molecules is due to their antioxidant activity. Since secondary metabolite synthesis occurs at a very low level in plants, the aim of this study was to develop a strategy to increase the production of such compounds and to elucidate the biochemical pathways involved. Therefore, cell suspensions of industrial hemp (C. sativa L. var. Futura) were produced, and an advantageous elicitation strategy (methyl jasmonate, MeJA) in combination with precursor feeding (tyrosine, Tyr) was developed. The activity and expression of phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) and tyrosine aminotransferase (TAT) increased upon treatment. Through 1H-NMR analyses, some aromatic compounds were identified, including, for the first time, 4-hydroxyphenylpyruvate (4-HPP) in addition to tyrosol. The 4-day MeJA+Tyr elicited samples showed a 51% increase in the in vitro assay (2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl, DPPH) radical scavenging activity relative to the control and a 80% increase in the cellular antioxidant activity estimated on an ex vivo model of human erythrocytes. Our results outline the active metabolic pathways and the antioxidant properties of hemp cell extracts under the effect of specific elicitors. View Full-Text
Keywords: Cannabis sativa; elicitation; plant cell cultures; metabolite profiling; NMR spectroscopy; secondary metabolism Cannabis sativa; elicitation; plant cell cultures; metabolite profiling; NMR spectroscopy; secondary metabolism
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gabotti, D.; Locatelli, F.; Cusano, E.; Baldoni, E.; Genga, A.; Pucci, L.; Consonni, R.; Mattana, M. Cell Suspensions of Cannabis sativa (var. Futura): Effect of Elicitation on Metabolite Content and Antioxidant Activity. Molecules 2019, 24, 4056.

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