Hairy Root Cultures: A Novel Way to Mass Produce Plant Secondary Metabolites

Jayabalan Shilpha, Muthaiah Joe Virgin Largia, Ramakrishnan Ramesh Kumar, Lakkakula Satish, Mallappa Kumara Swamy, Manikandan Ramesh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The in vitro method of transformation of root cultures using natural soil-borne bacterium Rhizobium rhizogenes (earlier known as Agrobacterium rhizogenes) is considered as a novel biotechnological tool to overproduce plant secondary metabolites from diverse plant species. The characteristic neoplastic roots that appear at the infection site owing to the transfer DNA insertion from Ri plasmid exhibit several unique characters such as rapid growth rate without the need of growth hormones, high genetic stability, and biosynthesis of plant secondary metabolites at levels even higher or comparable to their natural counterparts. The ease of hairy root culture in liquid system has escalated the platforms for large-scale production of various therapeutical, cosmeceutical, and nutraceutical metabolites in controlled bioreactor systems. The technology also offers the additional advantage of overexpression of tailor-made metabolites through metabolic engineering of plant biosynthetic pathways. Recently, the application of elicitors (signal molecules) in hairy root cultures has further kindled the robustness of this technique for the large-scale synthesis of specific plant metabolites. Thus, the present appraisal aims to discuss the recent progress, achievements, and future trends of hairy root technology, a pioneering expression system to meet the large-scale demand of valuable phytochemicals.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhytochemical Genomics
Subtitle of host publicationPlant Metabolomics and Medicinal Plant Genomics
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9789811957796
ISBN (Print)9789811957789
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • A. rhizogenes
  • Bioreactor
  • Elicitation
  • Hairy roots
  • Ri plasmid
  • Secondary metabolite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
  • Medicine (all)


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