Phytochemical and flow cytometric analyses of Devil's claw cell cultures

Nina Stancheva, Jost Weber, Josef Schulze, Kalina Alipieva, Jutta Ludwig-Müller, Christiane Haas, Vasil Georgiev, Thomas Bley, Milen Georgiev*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


A cell suspension culture of Devil's claw (Harpagophytum procumbens), a South African plant with high medicinal value, cultivated under submerged conditions showed stable growth and accumulated high amounts of biomass (18. 2 g l-1). Flow cytometry analyses of the suspension's cell cycle kinetics showed that proportions of cells in G0/G1 and S phases varied insignificantly (between 69-76% and 9-13%, respectively) during the cultivation, while the proportion of G2/M-phase cells increased until day 8 of cultivation, when the exponential phase of cell growth ended. Metabolite production in the culture was studied through simultaneous determination of three bioactive phenylethanoid glycosides (verbascoside, β-OH-verbascoside and leucosceptoside A) by high performance liquid chromatography. It was found that suspended Devil's claw cells accumulated mainly verbascoside (517. 3 mg l-1), followed by leucosceptoside A (107. 1 mg l-1) and β-OH-verbascoside (80. 3 mg l-1). In addition, several fatty acids and β-sitosterol were identified in the cell suspension by gas chromatographic-mass spectrometry analysis. Comparison of the results with previously acquired data for Harpagophytum procumbens transformed roots indicate that cell suspensions cultures are more promising as potential commercial sources of metabolites such as phenylethanoid glycosides.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPlant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)79-84
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Flow cytometry
  • GC-MS
  • Harpagophytum procumbens cell culture
  • Phenylethanoids

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