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Symposium Year: 2012
Student(s): Annette De Capite and Tyler Lancaster
Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. David P. Puthoff
Actaea racemosa (Black Cohosh) is native to eastern North America and found most often in woodland openings. Black cohosh is most often used as a treatment for menopausal symptoms and other female ailments. The secondary metabolites, actein and deoxyactein are two compounds associated with activity and are many times used for standardization of supplements. Unfortunately, only small quantities of active ingredients are produced in each rhizome, and these low yields cause many plants to be harvested from wild populations. Increasing the yield of actein and deoxyactein would help conserve wild populations which could be eliminated because of overharvesting. Secondary metabolites, such as actein and deoxyactein, are triterpenes and are typically synthesized as a defense mechanism of the plant. To gain an understanding of what defensive pathways are involved in actein and deoxyactein synthesis, plant defense signaling compounds were used to attempt to stimulate actein and deoxyactein production. Treatment included exposure to jasmonic acid (JA), salicylic acid (SA), ethylene (ET), and physical plant wounding. The levels of actein and deoxyactein within rhizomes were quantified using HPTLC. SA increased the levels of actein and 23-epi-26-deoxyactein in A. racemosa, suggesting that the gene responsible for triterpene synthesis has transcription factors regulated by SA.
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