Hairy root type plant in vitro systems as sources of bioactive substances

Author(s): Georgiev MI, Pavlov AI, Bley T


"Hairy root" systems, obtained by transforming plant tissues with the "natural genetic engineer" Agrobacterium rhizogenes, have been known for more than three decades. To date, hairy root cultures have been obtained from more than 100 plant species, including several endangered medicinal plants, affording opportunities to produce important phytochemicals and proteins in eco-friendly conditions. Diverse strategies can be applied to improve the yields of desired metabolites and to produce recombinant proteins. Furthermore, recent advances in bioreactor design and construction allow hairy root-based technologies to be scaled up while maintaining their biosynthetic potential. This review highlights recent progress in the field and outlines future prospects for exploiting the potential utility of hairy root cultures as "chemical factories" for producing bioactive substances.

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