Medicinal plants are rich sources of natural bioactive compounds used to treat many diseases.
With the development of the health industry, the market demands for Chinese medicine have been
rapidly increasing in recent years. However, over-utilization of herbal plants would cause serious ecological
problems. Therefore, an effective approach should be developed to produce the pharmaceutically
important natural drugs. Hairy root culture induced by Agrobacterium rhizogenes has been considered
to be an effective tool to produce secondary metabolites that are originally biosynthesized in the
roots or even in the aerial organs of mature plants. This review aims to summarize current progress on
medicinal plant hairy root culture for bioactive compounds production. It presents the stimulating effects
of various biotic and abiotic elicitors on the accumulation of secondary metabolites. Synergetic
effects by combination of different elicitors or with other strategies are also included. Besides, the
transgenic system has promising prospects to increase bioactive compounds content by introducing
their biosynthetic or regulatory genes into medicinal plant hairy root. It offers great potential to further
increase secondary metabolites yield by the integration of manipulating pathway genes with elicitors
and other strategies. Then advances on two valuable pharmaceuticals production in the hairy root cultures
are illustrated in detail. Finally, successful production of bioactive compounds by hairy root culture
in bioreactors are introduced.
Keywords: Bioactive compounds, hairy root, medicinal plant, elicitor, regulatory genes, metabolic engineering.
Rights & PermissionsPrintExport