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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 1 (2001), Issue 2, Pages 70-78
Research article

Somatic Embryogenesis, Rhizogenesis, and Morphinan Alkaloids Production in Two Species of Opium Poppy

1Department of Plant, Soil, and General Agriculture, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Carbondale 62901, IL, USA
2Laboratoire de Pharmacognosie & Phytotechnologie, Faculte de Pharmacie, 1 rue des Louvels, Amiens 80037, France

Copyright © 2001 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A study of somatic embryogenesis and rhizogenesis and their influence on production of morphinan alkaloids on two species of opium poppy is presented. We identified the ratios of auxin and cytokinin that caused somatic embryogenesis and rhizogenesis in hypocotyl and cotyledons of Papaver somniferum album and Papaver orientale splendidissimum. The hypocotyls and cotyledons both show somatic embryogenesis in Papaver somniferum album whereas only the cotyledons were embryogenic in Papaver orientale splendidissimum. For rhizogenesis, the most important response is on the cotyledons and leaves in these two species. Histology showed characteristic stages of somatic embryo: Globular, cotyledonous, and heart cotyledonary. High performance liquid chromatography analysis showed that the roots of both species synthesized codeine, thebaine, and papaverine. Morphine was only detected in aerial parts of Papaver somniferum album. Codeine and thebaine were detected in the rhizogenous but no embryonic callus. These results suggest that root organogenesis is causally related to alkaloid biosynthesis.