In vitro mineral nutrition of Curcuma longa L. Affects production of volatile compounds in rhizomes after transfer to the greenhouse

Rabia F. El-Hawaz, Mary H. Grace, Alan Janbey, Mary Ann Lila, Jeffrey W. Adelberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Turmeric is a rich source of bioactive compounds useful in both medicine and cuisine. Mineral concentrations effects (PO4 3-, Ca2+, Mg2+, and KNO3) were tested during in vitro rhizome development on the ex vitro content of volatile constituents in rhizomes after 6 months in the greenhouse. A response surface method (D-optimal criteria) was repeated in both high and low-input fertilizer treatments. Control plants were grown on Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium, acclimatized in the greenhouse and grown in the field. The volatile constituents were investigated by GC-MS. Results: The total content of volatiles was affected by fertilizer treatments, and in vitro treatment with Ca2+ and KNO3; but PO4 3- and Mg2+ had no significant effect. The content was higher in the high-input fertilizer treatments (49.7 ± 9 mg/g DM) with 4 mM Ca2+, 60 mM KNO3 and 5 mM NH4 +, than the low-input fertilizer (26.6 ± 9 mg/g DM), and the MS control (15.28 ± 2.7 mg/g DM; 3 mM Ca2+, 20 mM K+, 39 mM NO3 -, 20 mM NH4 +, 1.25 mM PO4 3-, and 1.5 mM Mg2+). The interaction of Ca2+ with KNO3 affected curcumenol isomer I and II, germacrone, isocurcumenol, and β-elemenone content. Increasing in vitro phosphate concentration to 6.25 mM increased ex vitro neocurdione and methenolone contents. Conclusion: These results show that minerals in the in vitro bioreactor medium during rhizome development affected biosynthesis of turmeric volatile components after transfer to the greenhouse six months later. The multi-factor design identified 1) nutrient regulation of specific components within unique phytochemical profile for Curcuma longa L. clone 35-1 and 2) the varied phytochemical profiles were maintained with integrity during the greenhouse growth in high fertility conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number122
JournalBMC Plant Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 18 2018


  • Bioreactor
  • Curcuma longa rhizome
  • Fed-batch technique
  • GC-MS
  • Response surface methods
  • Sesquiterpenes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science

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