We compared the biochemical profiles of Physalis ixocarpa hairy roots transformed with Agrobacterium rhizogenes ATCC and A4 strains with non-transformed root cultures. The studied clones of A4- and ATCC-induced hairy roots differed significantly; the latter showed greater growth potential and greater ability to produce secondary metabolites (tropane alkaloids) and to biotransform hydroquinone to arbutin. We compared glucose content, alanine and aspartate aminotransferase activity, and L-phenylalanine ammonia-lyase activity. We analyzed markers of prooxidant/antioxidant homeostasis: catalase, ascorbate peroxidase, oxidase, glutathione peroxidase and transferase activity, and the levels of ascorbate, glutathione, tocopherol and lipid peroxidation. We found that transformation induced strain-specific regulation, including regulation based on redox signals, determining the rate of allocation of carbon and nitrogen resources to secondary metabolism pathways. Our results provide evidence that A. rhizogenes strain-specific modification of primary metabolites contributed to regulation of secondary metabolism and could determine the ability of P. ixocarpa hairy root clones to produce tropane alkaloids and to convert exogenously applied hydroquinone to pharmaceutically valuable arbutin. Of the studied parameters, glucose content, L-phenylalanine ammonia-lyase activity and alanine aminotransferases activity may be indicators of the secondary metabolite-producing potential of different P. ixocarpa hairy root clones.
Polygonum orientale with beautiful red flowers can be found as one dominant species in the vicinity of most water bodies and wetlands in China. However, its phytoremediation potential has not been sufficiently explored because little is known about its resistance to inorganic or organic pollutants. We investigated P. orientale response to low and moderate levels of phenol stress (≤ 80 mg L-1). Endpoints included phenol tolerance of P. orientale and the removal of the pollutant, antioxidant enzyme activities, damage to the cell membrane, osmotic regulators and photosynthetic pigments. In plant leaves, phenol stress significantly increased the activities of peroxidase (POD) and catalase (CAT), as well as the contents of proline, soluble sugars and carotenoids, whereas superoxide dismutase (SOD), H2O2 and electrolyte leakage (EL) levels remained unaltered. On the other hand, there were significant decreases of soluble protein and chlorophyll contents. We demonstrated that, in combination with phenol tolerance and its removal, P. orientale has efficient protection mechanisms against phenol-induced oxidative damage (≤ 80 mg L-1). We propose that P. orientale could be used as an alternative and interesting material in the phytoremediation of phenol.