Industrial BiotechnologyNanobiotechnology

Increasing anti-cancer compounds in plants by using nanoparticles

Researchers from Urmia University have successfully used nanoparticles to increase the production of anti-cancer compounds in the root of Dracocephalum Kotschyi.

Using nanotechnology to produce herbal metabolites

Since herbal anti-cancer compounds have fewer side effects than chemical compounds, they have caught the attention of many researchers and scientists in pharmaceutical industry. But these compounds are produced at low concentrations in plants and thus their extraction is a very expensive process. Now the researchers from Urmia University have tackled this challenge by using nanotechnology.

One of the researchers explained: “Plant metabolites which could be used as drugs are produced at very low concentrations. If we want to use them as pharmaceutical agents, we must harvest them in huge numbers. This might lead to destruction of their habitat and even their extinction. But by using new biotechnological methods, we can produce these metabolites in our labs in a more efficient way. We can produce them as much as the amount that exists in an entire farm.”

He also said:” The interest in growing plant cells and organs in labs in order to produce pharmaceutical compounds, have significantly expanded in recent years. One of the most effective ways to accomplish this is the production of hairy roots.”

Production of anti-cancer compounds in hairy roots

Researchers used silica nanoparticles to elicit the production of bioactive compounds in the hairy roots of Dracocephalum Kotschyi. Their goal was to investigate the changes in the production of anti-cancer compounds including Xanthomicrol, Cirsimaritin and Rosmarinic acid in the hairy roots. Researchers investigated the effect of different concentrations of silica nanoparticles on the production of pharmaceutical compounds. They observed 8-fold increase in the production of rosmarinic acid following stimulation of hairy roots by nanoparticles.

The results of this study have been published in the latest issue of Industrial Crops & Products journal.

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