Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Usage of plants as bio-factories - Large scale production of pharmaceuticals in tomatoes

30.10.2015

Fruits and vegetables are healthy. This is something every child knows. However, we would need to consume high amounts of many plant products to achieve an efficient dose of helpful natural compounds, because those are often low-concentrated in plants.

Scientists of Dr. Alisdair Fernie’s research group at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology (MPI-MP) and of Prof. Cathie Martin’s group from the John Innes Center, England, described a possibility to use crop plants for large scale production of natural compounds. They published their findings in the journal “Nature Communications”.


Medically relevant compounds can be enriched in tomatoes to produce industrial quantities of pharmaceuticals at natural basis.

Saleh Alseekh, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology

Medically relevant substances in plants are so called secondary metabolites, including e.g. pigments and deterrents that enable plants to protect themselves against pests. They are not only useful for the plant itself, but can be helpful for humans as well. The beneficial effects of most medicinal plants are a consequence of them containing these substrates.

Two medical compounds, namely resveratrol and genistein, belong to the phenylpropanoides. Resveratrol is found in grapes naturally and it has been reported to extend the lifespan of different animals. Genistein, a secondary product in soybean, has been suggested to play a role in the prevention of different cancers, particularly breast cancer.

However, nobody has the ability to drink 50 bottles of wine or to eat 2.5kg soybeans per day – this would be the necessary amount of consumption to receive the beneficial dose of these natural products. The researchers in Germany and England sought for another way to make these compounds available.

For this purpose, the scientists analyzed a gene which is responsible for the production of the so called AtMYB12 protein. This protein itself can actively regulate the phenylpropanoid production. The researchers used the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana for their experiments, a herb which is growing all over the world. “This protein is working like a switch, which can turn the production of secondary plant substances on or off”, describes Alisdair Fernie, research group leader at the MPI MP in Potsdam.

The next step was the introduction of this protein into tomato plants to activate the production of requested compounds in the fruits. Additionally, it was necessary to integrate genes for enzymes from grapes or soybean. Herewith, the researchers managed to integrate a new pathway into tomato plants, which allows the production of resveratrol and genistein.

The integration of valuable compounds into tomatoes has economic advantages. The tomato is a high yielding crop - producing up to 500 tons per hectare in countries delivering the highest yields (FAOSTAT 2013). This qualifies them to work as bio-factories to produce industrial quantities of natural compounds of use. Moreover, they are easy to handle: they can be harvested and juiced and the valuable compounds can be extracted from the juice and directly used as pharmaceuticals in medicine. The authors state, that this technique could also be applied to other compounds. Such production systems are easier and faster in contrast to chemical synthesis or through extraction from traditional plant sources which contain only tiny amounts of respective natural products.

Contact:
Dr. Alisdair Fernie
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology
Tel. +49 331/567 8211
fernie@mpimp-golm.mpg.de

Dr. Ulrike Glaubitz
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology
Public Relations
Tel. +49 331/567 8275
glaubitz@mpimp-golm.mpg.de
http://www.mpimp-golm.mpg.de

Original publication:
Yang Zhang, Eugenio Butelli, Saleh Alseekh, Takayuki Tohge, Ghanasyam Rallapalli, Jie Luo, Prashant G. Kawar, Lionel Hill, Angelo Santino, Alisdair R. Fernie & Cathie Martin
Multi-level engineering facilitates the production of phenylpropanoid compounds in tomato
Nature Communications 6, Article number: 863, 26.10.2015, doi:10.1038/ncomms9635

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.mpimp-golm.mpg.de/2025324/biofactories

Ursula Ross-Stitt | Max-Planck-Institut für Molekulare Pflanzenphysiologie

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals
23.08.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht Treating arthritis with algae
23.08.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Treating arthritis with algae

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Witnessing turbulent motion in the atmosphere of a distant star

23.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>