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Herb Root Cultures


Development of the New Technology for the Production of an Ecological Pure Plant Material – Root Cultures of Herbs

Tech Area / Field

  • BIO-CGM/Cytology, Genetics and Molecular Biology/Biotechnology
  • BIO-MIB/Microbiology/Biotechnology
  • BIO-OTH/Other/Biotechnology
  • MAN-MAT/Engineering Materials/Manufacturing Technology

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
JSC Biochimmash, Russia, Moscow

Supporting institutes

  • Timiryazev Memorial Institute of Plant Physiology, Russia, Moscow


  • Gesellschaft für Biotechnologische Forschung mbH, Germany, Braunschweig

Project summary

At the present time about 30% of medicines, many aromatic substances, food additives and other valuable substances are produced from natural plant sources. Due to the increasing deficit and cost of this raw material, usually obtained from rare and disappearing species of wild and plantation plants, biotechnological method of phytomass production is considered as the most perspective. The use of cell cultures offers few advantages over the intact plants, among them are: radical decision on the deficit problem of the initial raw material, the possibility of phytomass production that is completely free of pollutants (herbicides, pesticides, heavy metals, etc.), the creation of new substances not synthesized in the intact plants, industrialization and reduction of production costs, the possibility to control the process of the target products’ biosynthesis, etc. However, in the world there are known only single examples of the commercial production from biologically active substances produced in plant cell culture because of the economic insufficiency.

In order to make possible the economic manufacture of the products by plant biotechnology, specialists see need to increase the biomass growth rate and the desired metabolite yield in the biomass. For this purpose in recent years radically new approaches are developed such as the harnessing of differentiated organ cultures, most notably hair roots. But for this approach the main obstacles are in the meanwhile the lack of the proper strains and the methods for the large-scale cultivation in bioreactors. Therefore, the project is purposed, the aim of which is the development the technology for large-scale cultivation of isolated grown roots of rare and valuable high plants producing physiologically active substances to obtain ecologically pure medicinal raw material of new type for medicine and food industries.

Project executors have great scientific and practical experiences: K.A.Timiryazev Institute of Plant Physiology RAS – in establishing of different plant root cultures, JSC “Biochimmash” – in developing of cell cultivation systems, and both institutes – in using of such systems for pilot study and in industrial situations.

Expected results.

During the project performance a hair root culture of herb Lithospermum erythrorhizon will be established and conditions for its growth will be optimized to bring about a high growth activity of roots and a maximum biosynthesis of naphtoquinones in this culture. As a result of the project fulfillment a mass cultivation sterile roots of herbs the most perspective for practical utilization will be arranged. These will be Rubia tinctorum and Ononis spinos strains, which are kept in the Timiryazev Institute collection as well as Lithospermum erythrorhizon, which will be introduced in culture.

The results obtained will be used with the aim to create pilot-plant regulations for large-scale productions of plant root biomass and to carry out following developments intended on a stable provision of medical and food industries by valuable and ecological pure drug raw material of a new type.

Conformity with the ISTC’s objectives.

The project is in full conformity with ISTC’s objectives. It will be performed with the participation of Russian specialists with previous activities as defense scientists and in close contact with the specialists of the other countries. Work on the project is aimed at solving of social and economical problems connected with the preservation of the fund of rare and disappearing species of plants as well as with the provision of pharmaceutics and food industry by ecological pure drug raw material.

Scope of Activities.

Project activities includes the performance of the complex of theoretical, experimental studies, engineering and technological developments, in order to solve the following tasks:

1. Establishment of plant root culture strains being studied, working out methods for their optimal cultivation in laboratory conditions (flasks).

2. Elaboration of methods for cultivation of plant roots and scale-up parameters in laboratory bioreactors.
3. Scaling up of cultivation process of plant roots in pilot bioreactors.

All tasks are to be performed by both participating institutions (JSC “Biochimmash” and Institute of Plant Physiology RAS). The results of the project activity will be presented in the form of the reports, articles, records of the experiments, technical decisions on the development of the equipment and their acceptance certificates, passports to new cell strains, claims for patents etc.

Role of foreign collaborators.

According to the scope of the activities within the project it is proposed the cooperation with foreign institutions – collaborators; exchange of information in the course of project performance, including submission to ISTC of the comments to the reporting materials, participation in the project’s technical activity, that will be performed by ISTC specialists, rendering assistance at the visiting of international undertakings, performance of joint studies, symposia and seminars.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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