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Biotechnological production of eleutherosides: current state and perspectives.


Eleutherosides, the phenylpropanoid and lignan glycosides, are the active ingredients accumulated in the roots and stems of Eleutherococcus species and in Eleutherococcus senticosus in particular. Syringin (=eleutheroside B) and (-) syringaresinol-di-O-β-D-glucoside (=eleutheroside E) appear as the most important bioactive compounds which are used as adaptogens, besides their abundant antidiabetic and anticancer properties. As the availability of "Eleuthero" is becoming increasingly limited because of its scanty natural distribution, the production of these compounds by biotechnological means has become an attractive alternative. In E. senticosus and other closely related species, Eleutherococcus sessiliflorus, Eleutherococcus chiisanensis, and Eleutherococcus koreanum, organogenic cultures have been induced for the production of eleutherosides. Bioreactor cultures have been established and various parameters, which influence on the accumulation of biomass and secondary metabolites, have been thoroughly investigated. Pilot-scale cultures have also been accomplished for the large-scale production of somatic embryos containing abundant amounts of eleutherosides. This review describes the biotechnological approaches and challenges for the production of eleutherosides.