Calli and suspension cell culture were established from Aquilaria species whose resinous portion was called agarwood and used as medicine and incense. Four different strains of calli were analyzed for fragrant compounds such as sesquiterpenoids and chromone derivatives which were the major components of agarwood. Main sesquiterpenoids detected from calli were α-guaiene, α-humulene and δ-guaiene, and those of chromone derivatives were phenylethylchromones (AH3, AH4, AH5, AH6). Amount of these compounds differed among the four strains, indicating that Aquilaria plants may have variation in capacity for fragrant compound production. Incubation temperature analysis was also done from 20°C to 40°C and resulted that cell growth was the best at 25°C, whereas the amount of fragrant compounds was largest at 20°C. Salicylic acid (SA) and methyl jasmonate (MJ) were added to calli and suspension cell culture respectively in order to induce production of fragrant compounds. Both SA and MJ apparently induced production of three sesquiterpenoids, α-guaiene, α-humulene, and δ-guaiene at early stage of treatment of SA or MJ, but did not induce that of chromone derivatives directly. Further studies of time course of chromone production and cell viability suggested that cell death may take part in chromone production, and that phenylethylchromones would be produced via oxydoagarochromones (OACs). These results indicate that sesquiterpenoids are synthesized in living cells, but chromone derivatives may be produced from debris of dying cells.
2009 by Japanese Society for Plant Cell and Molecular Biology