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Elicitation, a New Window into Plant Chemodiversity and Phytochemical Drug Discovery

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journal contribution
posted on 02.05.2003, 00:00 by Alexander Poulev, Joseph M. O'Neal, Sithes Logendra, Reneta B. Pouleva, Vesa Timeva, Alison S. Garvey, Doloressa Gleba, Ivan S. Jenkins, Barbara T. Halpern, Ralf Kneer, Gordon M. Cragg, Ilya Raskin
Plant extracts collected from the wild are important sources for drug discovery. However, these extracts suffer from a lack of reproducible bioactivity and chemical composition caused by the highly inducible, variable, and transitory nature of plant secondary metabolism. Here, we demonstrate that exposing roots of hydroponically grown plants to chemical elicitors selectively and reproducibly induced the production of bioactive compounds, dramatically increased the hit rate, and more than doubled the number of plant species showing in vitro activity against bacteria, fungi, or cancer. Elicitation performed under controlled conditions dramatically improves reliability and efficiency of plant extracts in drug discovery while preserving wild species and their habitats.

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