Stimulatory effects of acibenzolar-S-methyl on chlorogenic acids biosynthesis in centella asiatica cells

Efficient N. Ncube, Paul A. Steenkamp, Ntakadzeni E. Madala, Ian A. Dubery

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Centella asiatica is a perrenial herb that grows in tropical regions with numerous medicinal properties mostly attributed to the presence of pentacyclic triterpenoids. Interestingly, this plant also possess a significant amount of phenylpropanoid-derived chlorogenic acids (CGAs) that have recently been reported to confer neuroprotective properties. In a biotechnological attempt to increase the biosynthesis of CGA-derivatives in cultured Centella cells, acibenzolar-S-methyl was applied as a xenobiotic inducer in combination with quinic acid and shikimic acid as precursor molecules. Applying a semi-targeted metabolomics-based approach, time and concentration studies were undertaken to evaluate the effect of the manipulation on cellular metabolism leading to CGA production. Phytochemical extracts were prepared using methanol and analyzed using a UHPLC-qTOF-MS platform. Data was processed and analyzed using multivariate data models. A total of four CGA-derivatives, annotated as trans-5-feruloylquinic acid, 3,5 di-caffeoylquinic acid, 3,5-O-dicaffeoyl-4-O-malonylquinic acid (irbic acid) and 3-caffeoyl, 5-feruloylquinic acid, were found to be upregulated by the acibenzolar-S-methyl treatment. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on the induction of CGA derivatives in this species. Contrary to expectations, the effects of precursor molecules on the levels of the CGAs were insignificant. However, a total of 16 metabolites, including CGA derivatives, were up-regulated by precursor treatment. Therefore, this study shows potential to biotechnologically manipulate C. asiatica cells to increase the production of these health beneficial CGAs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1469
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Issue numberSeptember2016
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2016


  • Acibenzolar-S-methyl (ASM)
  • Centella asiatica
  • Chlorogenic acids
  • Elicitation
  • Quinic acid
  • Shikimic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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