Callus of East Indian sandalwood co-cultured with fungus Colletotrichum gloeosporioides accumulates santalenes and bisabolene

The inducible accumulation of desired products via in vitro cultures provides an experimental system for researching secondary metabolism in woody plants. This system is convenient, because environmental conditions can be strictly controlled. This is particularly important for East Indian sandalwood (Santalum album L.), a tree with desired sandal oil products that are restricted to the heartwood. In this study, we established a method to induce and proliferate callus from sandalwood shoot explants. Thidiazuron (TDZ) (0.2–1.5 mg/l) could induce the formation of callus, which proliferated rapidly within a month following three successive subcultures in liquid shake culture on Murashige and Skoog (MS) basal medium supplemented with 0.8–1.0-mg/l TDZ. Callus cultured in this liquid medium for 7 days was co-cultured with fungi, either Colletotrichum gloeosporioides or Penidiella kurandae. Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) analysis of the solvent extract by chemical anhydrous diethyl ether of callus co-cultured with C. gloeosporioides showed the presence of santalenes and bisabolene, which are the precursors of santalol. However, another fungus, P. kurandae, could not induce santalenes or bisabolene. This study provides an opportunity to further studies on the santalene and bisabolene biosynthetic signaling pathway and the fungal endophyte–plant interaction in sandalwood.
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