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Research on plant tissue culture application for commercial propagation of endangered medicinal plants

No.1.1.1.1/19/A/083


Along with the increase in demand for medicinal plants for the pharmaceutical, cosmetics and food industries, the wild populations of many wild medicinal plant species are decreasing. Researchers of the Institute for Environmental Solutions have identified the latest market needs by selecting three endangered medical plant species (Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus Maxim), common yew (Taxus baccata L), sea holly (Eryngium maritimum L)) and their vulnerabilities for commercial cultivation: prolonged seed germination, low seed production, slow rooting of cuttings (yew). It highlights that the cultivation of these species requires more efficient and more economically viable methods for propagating larger quantities of the plants for commercial use.

Objective

To adapt and develop micropropagation technologies including in vitro propagation in plant tissue culture transfer and acclimatization to ex vitro of the endangered medicinal plants – Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus Maxim.), common yew (Taxus baccata L.) and sea holly (Eryngium maritimum L.).

Activities

  1. Expeditions for collecting samples of wild plant species (in the margin of distribution and its main distribution area) to assess differences in chemical composition and propagation potential by plant tissue culture or genotypes from different origins.
  2. Adaptation of the methodology for propagation of Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus maxim.), common yew (Taxus baccata L.) and sea holly (Eryngium maritimum L.) by plant tissue culture, including initiation of the plant tissue culture, multiplication and plantlet rooting in vitro.
  3. Adaptation of the methodology for the cultivation of in vitro propagated mericlones in ex vitro and field conditions.

Results

  1. Acquired knowledge on the three endangered medicinal plant species (sea holly, common yew and Siberian ginseng) including chemical composition of local rare wild medicinal and aromatic plant resources, micro-propagation potential and plantlet adaptation techniques in field conditions. Data regarding chemical changes in plants obtained during the project will provide new insights into the influence of geographical, environmental, and agricultural factors on the composition of biologically active substances in evaluated plants. The resulting data, which will not affect the intellectual property rights of the enterprise, will be published in a scientific article.
  2. Developed one technology prototype (sea holly) for initiation of the plant tissue culture, in-vitro plantlet propagation, as well as plantlet adaptation ex-vitro.

Duration: 1st of July 2020 – 31st of June 2023

Leading partner: Institute for Environmental Solutions

Partner: SIA “Field and Forest”

Project scientific manager: IES leading researcher Dr. Ieva Mežaka, ieva.mezaka@videsinstituts.lv

Funded by: European Regional Development Fund, as a part of 1.1.1 “Improve research and innovation capacity and the ability of Latvian research institutions to attract external funding, by investing in human capital and infrastructure” 1.1.1.1. measure “Support for applied research”, Nr. 1.1.1.1/19/A/083 and project partners.

Total budget: 747 226 EUR, including public financing

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A biorefinery approach for the development of bioactive cosmetic ingredients from by-products of medicinal plant processing and plant cell cultivation (1.1.1.1/19/A/075)

The growing human population creates increasing demand on global ecosystems for food, medicine and other natural resources. Most of the world’s habitable land is already occupied by agriculture (50%) and forestry (37%). The amount of arable land per person is dropping, thus highlighting a need for improved efficiency of extracting higher value-added products and services from existing resources.

The European leading industries of food and drinks, cosmetics and chemical production have unused potential of transforming underutilised by-products into high added value products. Europe is the global leader in the chemical industry and cosmetics production, and its food and drink industry reaches an annual turnover of 1.1 trillion EUR.

 

Most by-products coming from agriculture, cosmetics, food and drink, as well as chemical industries are not utilized and end up in municipal landfills, thus causing serious environmental, economic and social problems. Currently, by-products are handled as waste, while they could be used as ingredients to create new revenue streams and open the doors for new markets. Spinning the mindset and business approaches towards using more innovative, science-based solutions for by-product utilization will have a positive impact on the transition towards a sustainable economy.

 

Objective

To develop high added value compounds for potential use in cosmetics from by-products of medicinal plant processing and cell cultivation.

 

Activities

1. Extraction of bioactive compounds from by-products of medicinal plant (Matricaria) processing and in-vitro cell culturing (Dracocephalum, Ribes and Juniperus) using supercritical fluid extraction methodology.

2. Fractionation of polar and non-polar compounds from supercritical fluid extracts of medicinal herb processing and in-vitro cell culturing production.

3. Chemical characterization of extractions and fractions obtained from medicinal plant by-products and estimating their potential in biorefinery using medical plant production and in vitro cell culturing.

4. Characterization of biological activity of extracts and fractions derived from by-products to characterize the safety and specific efficacy claims for cosmetic use.

5. Combination of biorefinery fractions and extracts to generate a composite cosmetic ingredient with enhanced biological activity by using complex analysis of chemical composition data on in-vitro safety and biological activity.

6. Communication and result dissemination focusing on knowledge transfer to scientific community, practitioners and general public.

 

Results

1. Effective and environmentally friendly extraction and fraction methodology for by-products derived from medicinal herb processing and in-vitro plant cell cultivation.

2. The developed and tested methodology for characterization of chemical composition, biological activity and safety of obtained extracts and fractions.

3. The developed prototype of a composite cosmetic ingredient with enhanced biological activity by combining biorefinery and extracts.

4. Results disseminated through 3 Open Access scientific journal papers, 6 presentations in international conferences and communication with the public through web, social media and outreach events.

 

Duration: 1st of July 2020 – 30 th of June 2023

Leading partner: Institute for Environmental Solutions

Partners: SIA “Field and Forest”, SIA “Alternative Plants”

Project scientific manager: IES leading researcher Dr. Ilva Nakurte, ilva.nakurte@videsinstituts.lv

Funded by: European Regional Development Fund, as a part of 1.1.1.1 measure “Support for applied research” and specific objective 1.1.1 “Improve research and innovation capacity and the ability of Latvian research institutions to attract external funding, by investing in human capital and infrastructure”, Nr. 1.1.1.1/19/A/075 and project partners.

Total budget: 810 878.66 EUR

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