Project

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PhytoBalk

English title Bioassay-guided approach for the standardized biotechnological yield of phytopharmaceuticals of valuable Balkan medicinal plants
Applicant Meier Beat
Number 142989
Funding scheme Bulgarian-Swiss Research Programme (BSRP)
Research institution Institut für Biotechnologie Zürcher Hochschule für Angwdt. Wiss, (ZHAW)
Institution of higher education Zurich University of Applied Sciences - ZHAW
Main discipline Pharmacology, Pharmacy
Start/End 01.03.2013 - 31.08.2016
Approved amount 305'126.00
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All Disciplines (5)

Discipline
Pharmacology, Pharmacy
Biochemistry
Agricultural and Forestry Sciences
Other disciplines of Engineering Sciences
Ecology

Keywords (11)

hyphenation; biotechnology of phytopharmaceuticals; phytochemical analysis; High Performance Thin Layer Chromatography (HPTLC ; plant tissue culture; medicinal plants; bioactivity screening; pharmacognosy; bioassay-guided cultivation; ex-situ conservation; in-vitro cultivation

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
PhytoBalk wird durch interdisziplinäre Forschung den Grundstein für eine systematische Sammlung von Keimgeweben von wertvollen Medizinalpflanzenarten des Balkans legen. Standardisierte Protokolle dienen einerseits der Erhaltung der untersuchten Arten ausserhalb ihres natürlichen Lebensraums (ex situ), andererseits der biotechnologischen Gewinnung der therapeutisch aussichtsreichsten Pflanzen im Labor (in vitro) .
Lay summary

Inhalt und Ziel des Forschungsprojekts

Das Projekt hat das Ziel zu untersuchen, ob die Kultivierung wild vorkommender Medizinalpflanzen ausserhalb des natürlichen Lebensraums mittels biotechnologischer Verfahren möglich ist. Hochproduktive Zell-, Gewebs- und Organlinien sollen zum Zweck der Kultivierung im Labor gewonnen werden. Flexibilität, Unabhängigkeit von natürlichen Ressourcen und Standardisierung der Qualität bei der industriellen Herstellung von Extrakten und Einzelstoffen wird angestrebt. Die Beurteilung der Prozesse erfolgt durch chemisch-analytische und biologische Testverfahren (Bioassays), die geeignet sind, das therapeutische Potential zur Prävention und Behandlung verbreiteter Krankheiten und Beschwerden abzuschätzen. Die entwickelten Methoden sind Grundlage für eine geplante nachhaltige Zusammenarbeit der Partner in Folgeprojekten auf dem Gebiet der ex situ und in vitro Kultivierung von Medizinalpflanzen.

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext des Forschungsprojekts

Medizinalpflanzen gelten als Arten von besonderem Interesse aufgrund Ihrer Bedeutung für die menschliche Gesundheit. Ein wenig regulierter Markt führt in Niedriglohnländern, u.a. Osteuropa, zu einem grossen Druck auf wild vorkommende Medizinalpflanzen und bedroht die Biodiversität. Die für dieses Projekt ausgewählten Pflanzengattungen und -arten gelten nicht nur in der Balkanregion, sondern teilweise auch in der Schweiz als schützenswert. Durch die Entwicklung von Möglichkeiten zur Bewahrung und Vermehrung von Medizinalpflanzen werden wertvolle Rohstoffe für die pharmazeutische und verwandte Industrie nachhaltig gesichert.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 01.03.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Highly oxygenated sesquiterpenes in Artemisia alba Turra.
Todorova Milka, Trendafilova Antoaneta, Danova Kalina, Simmons Luke, Wolfram Evelyn, Meier Beat, Riedl Rainer, Evstatieva Luba (2015), Highly oxygenated sesquiterpenes in Artemisia alba Turra., in Phytochemistry, 110, 140-149.
In vitro culture development and polyphenolics production of Artemisia alba Turra.
Koleva P, Wolfram E, Pedrussio S, Raynova Y, Estatieva L, Danova K (2015), In vitro culture development and polyphenolics production of Artemisia alba Turra., in Bio. Sci. Biotechol., SE/Online, 131-136.
Potential of the Balkan Flora as a Source of Prospective Hypericum Genotypes for the Conventional and Biotechnological Delivery of Phytopharmaceuticals.
Danova K (2015), Potential of the Balkan Flora as a Source of Prospective Hypericum Genotypes for the Conventional and Biotechnological Delivery of Phytopharmaceuticals., in Davis Howard R (Ed) (ed.), Nova Science Publishers, USA, 19-52.
Bioautographic screening of Xanthine Oxidase inhibition and antioxidant activities for bioprocess control of in vitro cultivated medicinal and aromatic plants of the Balkan region
Wolfram E, Danova K, Könye R, Pedrussio S, Aneva L, Evstatieva, Bräm S, Meier B (2014), Bioautographic screening of Xanthine Oxidase inhibition and antioxidant activities for bioprocess control of in vitro cultivated medicinal and aromatic plants of the Balkan region, in Planta medica, 80, P2B62.
Effect of plant growth regulators on growth patterns and enzymatic antioxidant activities in Hypericum calycinum shoot cultures
Treneva G., Markovska Y., Wolfram E., Danova K. (2014), Effect of plant growth regulators on growth patterns and enzymatic antioxidant activities in Hypericum calycinum shoot cultures, in Bulgarian Journal of Agricultural Science, 20(1), 46-50.
Enzymatic activity and physiological status affect essential oils and polyphenolics production in Artemisia alba tissue cultures
Y Markovska Y Raynova K Idakieva M Todorova E Wolfram K Danova (2013), Enzymatic activity and physiological status affect essential oils and polyphenolics production in Artemisia alba tissue cultures, in Planta medica, 79, PN20.
Highly oxygenated sesquiterpenes from the aerial parts of Artemisia alba Turra
M Todorova A Trendafilova L Evstatieva L Simmons E Wolfram K Danova (2013), Highly oxygenated sesquiterpenes from the aerial parts of Artemisia alba Turra, in Planta medica, 79, PI104.
Nitric Oxide-Scavenging Activity Of In Vitro Cultured Balkan Medicinal And Aromatic Plants
Mehandzhiyski A Batovska D Dimitrov D Evstatieva L Danova K (2013), Nitric Oxide-Scavenging Activity Of In Vitro Cultured Balkan Medicinal And Aromatic Plants, in BJAS Bulgarian Journal of Agricultural Science, 19(2), 31-34.
Optimization of in vitro culture system for biomass and polyphenolics production in Inula britannica and Sideritis scardica Sofia 2 cultivar
K Danova L Evstatieva M Todorova A Trendafilova E Wolfram (2013), Optimization of in vitro culture system for biomass and polyphenolics production in Inula britannica and Sideritis scardica Sofia 2 cultivar, in Planta medica, 79, PN21.
Phytochemical assessment of the effect of stimulated in vitro multiplication on the metabolic profile of in vitro cultured Hypericum richeri and Artemisia alba
E Wolfram L Hostettler S Peter M Todorova A Trendafilova K Danova (2013), Phytochemical assessment of the effect of stimulated in vitro multiplication on the metabolic profile of in vitro cultured Hypericum richeri and Artemisia alba, in Planta medica, 79, PN119.
Relations between enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidant defence involved in polyphenolics production of Artemisia alba in vitro
Raynova Y Markovska Y Idakieva K Wolfram E Danova K. (2013), Relations between enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidant defence involved in polyphenolics production of Artemisia alba in vitro, in Proceedings of Workshop of Ecology, Union of Scientists, SofiaBulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia.
Terpenoid profile of Artemisia alba is related to endogenous cytokinins in vitro
Krumova S Motyka V Dobrev P Todorova M Trendafilova A Evstatieva L Danova K (2013), Terpenoid profile of Artemisia alba is related to endogenous cytokinins in vitro, in Bulgarian Journal of Agricultural Science, 19(2), 26-30.
Biotechnological Utilization of the Indigenous Biosynthetic Capacity of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants: Experience in the Genera Hypericum Pulsatilla and Essential Oil Bearing Artemisia alba Characteri
Danova Kalina, Biotechnological Utilization of the Indigenous Biosynthetic Capacity of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants: Experience in the Genera Hypericum Pulsatilla and Essential Oil Bearing Artemisia alba Characteri, in Govil J.N. (ed.), Studium Press LLC, Houston, USA, 355-392.
Interdisciplinary interaction for the biotechnological development of Balkan medicinal plant species
Todorova M, Trendafilova A, Krumova S, Idakieva K, Genova V, Markovska Y, Raynova Y, Estatieva L, Wolfram E, Danova K, Interdisciplinary interaction for the biotechnological development of Balkan medicinal plant species, in Proceedings of Seminar of Ecology, Union of Scientists,, Sofia, BulgarienBulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia.
Relations between enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidant defence involved in polyphenolics production of Artemisia alba in vitro
Raynova Y, Markovska Y, Idakieva K, Wolfram E, Danova K, Relations between enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidant defence involved in polyphenolics production of Artemisia alba in vitro, in Proceedings of Seminar of Ecology, Union of Scientists,, Sofia, BulgariaBulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
ZHAW-Camag, Muttenz Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Agroscope/Mediplante Conthey - Christoph Carlen, Catherine Baroffio and Xavier Simmonet Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
IOCCP - Institute of Biophysics and Biomedical Engineering, BAS (IBBE, BAS) Bulgaria (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
IOCCP - Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski" Bulgaria (Europe)
- Exchange of personnel

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
9th Joint Natural Products Conference, 24-27 July 2016, Copenhagen, Denmark Poster Effect of activated charcoal on the developmental patterns, polyphenolics productivity and photosynthetic activity of Sideritis scardica in vitro 24.07.2016 Copenhagen, Denmark Danova Kalina;
9th Joint Natural Products Conference, 24-27 July 2016, Copenhagen, Denmark Poster Role in terpenoid biogenesis of plant growth regulators in Artemisia alba Turra shoot cul-tures 24.07.2016 Copenhagen, Denmark Danova Kalina; Wolfram-Schilling Evelyn;
9th Joint Natural Products Conference, 24-27 July 2016, Copenhagen, Denmark Poster Biotechnological yield of phytopharmaceuticals of valuable Balkan medicinal plants 24.07.2016 Copenhagen, Denmark Danova Kalina; Wolfram-Schilling Evelyn;
9th Joint Natural Products Conference, 24-27 July 2016, Copenhagen, Denmark Poster HPTLC and HPTLC-coupled Bioassays for Bioprocess Control of Medicinal Plant In Vitro Cultures from the Balkan region. 24.07.2016 Copenhagen, Denmark Danova Kalina; Wolfram-Schilling Evelyn;
CIPAM 2016, 29 May -1 June, Coimbra, Portugal Poster Sustainable utilization of medicinal and aromatic plants by means of conventional and tissue culture breeding techniques 29.05.2016 Coimbra, Portugal Danova Kalina;
CIPAM 2016, 29 May -1 June, Coimbra, Portugal Poster Effect of in vitro culture on the content of biologically active sesquiterpene lactones in Inula britannica shoots 29.05.2016 Coimbra, Portugal Danova Kalina;
CIPAM 2016, 29 May -1 June, Coimbra, Portugal Poster Biotechnological delivery of medicinal plant material indigenous to the Balkan region with antioxidant and acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity 29.05.2016 Coimbra, Portugal Danova Kalina;
CIPAM 2016, 29 May -1 June, Coimbra, Portugal Poster Bioautographic enzyme assays and antioxidant polyphenolics screening of biotechnologi-cally derived medicinal and aromatic plants of the Balkan region 29.05.2016 Coimbra, Portugal Wolfram-Schilling Evelyn;
9th CMAPSEEC, 26 – 29 May 2016 Plovdiv, BULGARIA Poster Phytochemical study on Inula britannica L. of Bulgarian origin. 26.05.2016 Plovdiv, Bulgaria Wolfram-Schilling Evelyn; Danova Kalina;
9th CMAPSEEC, 26 – 29 May 2016 Plovdiv, BULGARIA Poster Polyphenolic content and biological activity of in vitro cultivated Sideritis scardica L. 26.05.2016 Povdiv, Bulgaria Wolfram-Schilling Evelyn; Danova Kalina;
9th CMAPSEEC, 26 – 29 May 2016 Plovdiv, BULGARIA Talk given at a conference Effect of tissue culture on the flavonoid profile and endogenous auxin and cytokinin lev-els in Artemisia alba Turra in vitro 26.05.2016 Plovdiv, Bulgaria Wolfram-Schilling Evelyn; Danova Kalina;
Seminar of Ecology with International Participation Talk given at a conference Multiplication and polyphenolics pro-duction of Sideritis scardica through different tissue culture techniques. 21.04.2016 Sofia, Bulgaria Danova Kalina;
Third National Congress in Physical Sciences, Sept 29th – Oct 2nd, Sofia, Bulgaria – poster. Poster Moderation of the photosynthetic performance and terpenoid profile of in vitro cultures of the medicinal plant Artemisia alba. 29.09.2015 Sofia, Bulgaria Danova Kalina;
Seminar of Ecology with international participation, Union of Scientist Bulgaria, Institute of Biodiversity and Ecology Talk given at a conference Protein profiling and antioxidant enzyme activity of Artemisia alba cultures 23.04.2015 Sofia, Bulgaria Danova Kalina;
Seminar of Ecology with international participation, Union of Scientist Bulgaria, Institute of Biodiversity and Ecology Talk given at a conference Do endogenous cytokinins regulate terpenoid biogenesis and thylakoid morphogenesis in Artemisia alba in vitro model system? 23.04.2015 Sofia, Bulgaria Danova Kalina;
Advances in pharmaceutical research Talk given at a conference Biodiversity and conservation strategies for utilization of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of the Balkans 29.03.2015 Kairo, Egypt Danova Kalina;
Advances in Pharmaceutical Research Talk given at a conference Biodiversity and conservation strategies for utilization of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of the Balkans 29.03.2015 Cairo, Egypt Danova Kalina;
Institute Seminar IOCCP, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences Individual talk Bioprocess Control of in vitro plant cultures using HPTLC bioautography 26.02.2015 Sofia, Bulgaria Wolfram-Schilling Evelyn; Danova Kalina;
Natural Products and Drug Discovery - Future Perspectives Poster Improved Bioautographic Xanthine Oxidase Assay: Combining HPTLC separation and activity assessment for phytopharmaceutical research 13.11.2014 Wien, Austria Wolfram-Schilling Evelyn;
Scientific Conference Plant Physiology and Genetics - Achievements and Challenges Poster Terpenoid biogenesis in Artemisia alba Turra is related to endogenous cytokinin balance and structural organization of the photosynthetic apparatus in vitro 24.09.2014 Sofia, Bulgaria Danova Kalina;
BioTech 2014: Interdisciplinary conference on bioprocess analytics and sensor technology Poster Bioautographic screening of Xanthine Oxidase inhibition and antioxidant activities for bioprocess control of in vitro cultivated medicinal and aromatic plants of the Balkan region 04.09.2014 Wädenswil, Switzerland Meier Beat; Wolfram-Schilling Evelyn;
62nd International Congress and Annual Meeting of GA Poster Bioautographic screening of Xanthine Oxidase inhibition and antioxidant activities for bioprocess control of in vitro cultivated medicinal and aromatic plants of the Balkan region; 31.08.2014 Guimarães, Portugal Meier Beat;
Swiss Pharma Day 2014 Poster Improved Bioautographic Xanthine Oxidase Assay: Combining HPTLC separation and activity assessment for phytopharmaceutical research 20.08.2014 Bern, Switzerland Meier Beat; Wolfram-Schilling Evelyn;
International Symposium on High Performance Thin Layer Chromatography Poster Improved Bioautographic Xanthine Oxidase Assay: Combining HPTLC separation and activity assessment for phytopharmaceutical research 02.07.2014 Lyon, France Wolfram-Schilling Evelyn;
Seminar of Ecology, Union of Scientist, Bulgaria, Section of Ecology Talk given at a conference Interdisciplinary interaction for the biotechnological development of Balkan medicinal plant species. 24.06.2014 Sofia, Bulgaria Danova Kalina;
Internationale Tagung Phytotherapie 2014 - Schweizerische Jahrestagung für Phytotherapie Poster Development of Biotechnological Methods in medicinal plants research – contribution for safeguarding of raw material and for innovation in Phytotherapy using Hypericum species 18.06.2014 Winterthur, Switzerland Wolfram-Schilling Evelyn; Peter Samuel; Meier Beat;
8th Conference on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of Southeast European Countries (8th CMAPSEEC) Poster Potential of I. britannica for biotechnological production of biologically active sesquiterpene lactones 19.05.2014 Durres, Albania Danova Kalina;
8th Conference on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of Southeast European Countries (8th CMAPSEEC) Poster Biotechnological approaches for the targeted delivery of essential oils with defined composition from Artemisia alba Turra shoot cultures 19.05.2014 Durres, Albania Danova Kalina;
Phytochemicals in Medicine and Pharmacognosy Poster Biotechnological approaches for the targeted delivery of volatile and non-volatile biologically active secondary metabolites in Artemisia alba Turra. 27.04.2014 Piatra-Neamt, Romania Wolfram-Schilling Evelyn;
Phytochemicals in Medicine and Pharmacognosy Poster Terpenoid biogenesis in Artemisia alba is related to the structural organization of thylakoid membranes in vitro 27.04.2014 Piatra Neamt, Romania Wolfram-Schilling Evelyn;
Kliment days, International Conference, Bioscience – development and new opportunities, Sofia University St. KLiment Ohridski Poster Effect of plant growth regulators on growth patterns and physiological status of Hypericum calyc inum shoot cultures 20.11.2013 Sofia, Bulgaria Danova Kalina;
2nd One Health Summit Poster The Bulgarian Swiss Joint-Research Project PhytoBalk – an example of application of biotechnological methods for the conservation of valuable medicinal plants germplasm and region independent biotechnological production of plant derived pharmaceuticals 17.11.2013 Davos, Switzerland Wolfram-Schilling Evelyn;
International Conference on Natural Products Utilization - From Plants to Pharmacy Shelf ICNPU 2013, 3-6 November 2013 BANSKO 2013 Talk given at a conference Coumarins and flavonoids in Artemisia alba Turra – a comparative study of field cultivated and tissue culture produced plant material, International Conference on Natural Products Utilization From Plants to Pharmacy Shelf 03.11.2013 Bansko, Bulgaria Danova Kalina;
61st International Congress and Annual Meeting of the Society for Medicinal Plant and Natural Product Research (GA) Sept 1 - 5, 2013. Muenster, Germany Poster Optimization of in vitro culture system for biomass and polyphenolics production in Inula britannica and Sideritis scardica Sofia 2 cultivar 01.09.2013 Münster, Germany Danova Kalina; Meier Beat; Wolfram-Schilling Evelyn;
61st International Congress and Annual Meeting of the Society for Medicinal Plant and Natural Product Research (GA) Sept 1 - 5, 2013. Muenster, Germany Poster Enzymatic activity and physiological status affect essential oils and polyphenolics production in Artemisia alba tissue cultures 01.09.2013 Münster, Germany Danova Kalina; Wolfram-Schilling Evelyn; Meier Beat;
61st International Congress and Annual Meeting of the Society for Medicinal Plant and Natural Product Research (GA) Sept 1 - 5, 2013. Muenster, Germany Poster Phytochemical assessment of the effect of stimulated in vitro multiplication on the metabolic profile of in vitro cultured Hypericum richeri and Artemisia alba 01.09.2013 Münster, Germany Meier Beat; Wolfram-Schilling Evelyn; Danova Kalina;
1st International Conference on Plant Biology, 20th Symposium of the Serbian Plant Physiology Society, Subotica, June 4-7, 2013 Talk given at a conference Plenary Lecture: Understanding plant-environment interactions is a key to successful yield of phytopharmaceuticals from medicinal species in vitro. 04.06.2013 Subotica, Serbien Danova Kalina;
1st International Conference on Plant Biology, 20th Symposium of the Serbian Plant Physiology Society, Subotica, June 4-7, 2013 Poster Plant growth regulators treatments affect the structure and function of photosystem II and thylakoid membranes in Artemisia alba in vitro culture model 04.06.2013 Subotica, Serbien Danova Kalina;
Seminar of Ecology, Union of Scientist, Bulgaria, Sofia 24-25.4.13 Poster Relations between enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidant defence involved in polyphenolics production of Аrtemisia alba in vitro 24.04.2013 Sofia, Bulgaria Danova Kalina;
Seminar of Ecology, Union of Scientist, Bulgaria, Sofia 24-25.4.13 Poster Polyphenolics stimulation by vitamin and plant growth regulators in Inula britannica in vitro culture, 24.04.2013 Sofia, Bulgaria Danova Kalina;
Seminar of Ecology, Union of Scientist, Bulgaria, Sofia 24-25.4.13 Talk given at a conference In vitro culture of Sideritis scardica cultivar Sofia 2 for the production of polyphenolic compounds 24.04.2013 Sofia, Bulgaria Danova Kalina;


Knowledge transfer events



Self-organised

Title Date Place
Mini.Symposium Plan Biotechnology 07.09.2016 Wädenswil, Switzerland
Public Phytobalk Status Seminar for ZHAW Department N employees and interested company representatives 02.04.2014 Wädenswil, Switzerland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Aus dem Osten nur Gutes IMPACT ZHAW, März 2016, S. 37 German-speaking Switzerland 2016
Media relations: print media, online media Heilpflanzen aus dem Reagenzglas 20min German-speaking Switzerland 2014
Other activities ZHAW LSFM Newsletter "Transfer" German-speaking Switzerland 2014

Abstract

Medicinal plants are considered to be a group of special interest due to their importance for human survival and potential of overexploitation.According to the World Health Organization, today about 80% of Earth population still relies mainly on medicinal plants as traditional treatment method. Also, about 25% of the prescribed medications and 50% of the over-the-counter drugs in the industrialized countries are of plant origin (including 52% of the anti-inflammatory and 51% of the anti-tumor products). In the era of increasing drug resistance of pathogenic microorganisms towards the long-lived applied traditional antibiotics, much hope is given to plant derived active constituents due to their huge structural diversity and high number of pharmacologically active functional groups in the molecule, making it less possible to develop resistance. Although a great number of active molecules are nowadays derived through the means of chemical synthesis, for a large number of products this is still impossible, due to their complicated nature, or synthetic processes are far too expensive and economically disadvantageous. Therefore, pharmaceutical industry still relies largely on substances derived from plant raw material by extraction and purification processes. Crucial point in industrial scale production is the dependence of results on the quality of the plant raw material which can vary due to variations of natural parameters such as soil, precipitation, climate as well as agricultural manipulations and post-harvest treatment. This is the reason, why especially the pharmaceutical industry is seeking sources of natural products, which offer raw materials of defined and constant quality.Europe’s varied geography and climate provide a vast range of habitats that support more than 12’500 vascular plants. Many major and minor crops have wild relatives in Europe and have been developed and domesticated in the region. Thus, Europe’s flora is one of the best known in the world and has been shaped by human interventions for many hundreds of years. Threats facing medicinal and aromatic plant species in Europe are very similar across the world: largely unmonitored trade, over-exploitation, destructive harvesting techniques, as well as habitat loss and habitat changes, resulting in diminution of population sizes, decrease in genetic diversity and finally to the extinction of the species. An additional impact in the countries of the former Eastern Bloc has been the deregulation of state-controlled commerce resulting in the increase of wild collection. PhytoBalk will support a broad interdisciplinary research to establish ex situ germplasm collection of valuable Balkan medicinal plant species. This will enable the production of biologically active plant extracts, fractions and individual compounds away from the wild habitats in a flexible and standardized manner through modification of culture conditions and establishment of highly productive cell, tissue or organ lines in vitro. A broad in vitro screening of the therapeutic potential for the treatment of an array of socially significant ailments such as inflammation, aging, gout, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and obesity will be performed. The estrogenic and anti-tumor activity will also be tested. The bacteriostatic/bactericidal and fungicidal potential of the obtained products will be estimated on pathogenic indicator microorganisms. Plant species, which will be investigated in PhytoBalk, include representatives of several genera and were chosen as a result of an ethnobotanic survey and are expected to yield plant derived products with defined pharmacological potential. They include species of conservational interest not only for the Balkan region, but for Switzerland as well. Experimental work of PhytoBalk will result in establishment of standardized protocols for the ex situ conservation of the investigated species and biotechnological derivation of the most prospective therapeutically active products selected by a wide array of bioassays foreseen in this project. These acquisitions will bring scientifically based new knowledge and serve as a model for also other valuable medicinal plant species, representative of the floras of the two countries in future collaborations.Thus, the planned research sets premises for the initial steps of prospective drug candidate discovery and hence falls into the scope of the “Drug development” topic, but is also concerning ex situ conservational issues of the “Ecological forestry/farming and waste management” topic of the Bulgarian-Swiss Research Programme 2011-2016 call. HypothesisPlant metabolic profile is genetically pre-determined, but its qualitative and quantitative characteristics are dynamic and can vary strikingly depending on the complex interrelations of the plant organism with its surrounding environment. Therefore, by controlling culture conditions in vitro, it is possible to target the production of plant biomass with desired properties. Reliable bioprocess control will be granted by the utilization of rapid and efficient analytical and bioassay methods.
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