Plant cell cultures could be used as an important tool for biochemical production, ranging from natural coloring (pigments) to pharmaceutical products. Anthocyanins are becoming a very important alternative to synthetic dyes because of increased public concern over the safety of artificial food coloring agents. Several factors are responsible for the production of anthocyanin in cell cultures. In the present study, we investigate the effects of different environmental factors, such as light intensity, irradiance (continuous irradiance or continuous darkness), temperature and medium pH on cell biomass yield and anthocyanin production in cultures of Melastoma malabathricum. Moderate light intensity (301 - 600 lux) induced higher accumulation of anthocyanins in the cells. The cultures exposed to 10-d continuous darkness showed the lowest pigment content, while the cultures exposed to 10-d continuous irradiance showed the highest pigment content. The cell cultures incubated at a lower temperature range (20 ± 2 ºC) grew better and had higher pigment content than those grown at 26 ± 2 ºC and 29 ± 2 ºC. Different medium pH did not affect the yield of cell biomass but anthocyanin accumulation was highest at pH 5.25 - 6.25.
Melastoma malabathricum, belongs to the Melastomaceae family, is an important medicinal plant widely distributed from Madagascar to Australia, that is used in traditional remedies for the treatment of various ailments. Besides its medicinal properties, it has been identified as a potential source of anthocyanin production. The present study was carried out to investigate the effect of sucrose and methyl jasmonate and feeding time on cell biomass yield and anthocyanin production in cell suspension culture of M. malabathricum. Addition of different concentrations of sucrose into the cell culture of M. malabathricum influenced cell biomass and pigment accumulation. The addition of methyl jasmonate was found to have no effect on cell biomass but the presence of higher amount (12.5-50 mg/L) had caused a reduction in anthocyanin production and accumulation. MS medium supplemented with 30 g/L sucrose and 3.5 mg/L of MeJA added on cero day and 3rd day produced high fresh cell mass at the end of nine days of culture but did not support the production of anthocyanins. However, cells cultured in the medium supplemented with 45 g/L sucrose without MeJA showed the highest pigment content (0.69 +/- 0.22 CV/g-FCM). The cells cultured in MS medium supplemented with 30 g/L sucrose with 3.5 mg/L MeJA added on the 3rd and 6th day of culture, showed the lowest pigment content (0.37-0.40 CV/g-FCM). This study indicated that MeJA was not necessary but sucrose was needed for the enhancement of cell growth and anthocyanin production in M. malabathricum cell cultures.
Eleven compounds were identified during profiling of polyphenols by UPLC-QTOF/MS. In abundance was quercetin-3-O-α-l-arabinofuranoside in M. malabathricum ethanolic leaves extract while 6-hydroxykaempferol-3-O-glucoside was present in the leaves extract of M. decenfidum (its rare variety). TPC and TFC were significantly higher in M. decemfidum extract than M. malabathricum extract. During DPPH, FRAF and β-carotene bleaching assays, M. decemfidum extract exhibited greater antioxidant activity compared to M. malabathricum extract. Effect of M. malabathricum and M. decemfidum extracts on viability of MDA-MB-231 cell at concentrations 6.25-100 μg/mL were evaluated for 24, 48 and 72 h. After 48 and 72 h treatment, M. malabathricum and M. decemfidum leaves extracts exhibited significant activity in inhibiting MDA-MB-231 cancer cell line with M. malabathricum extract being more cytotoxic. M. malabathricum and M. imbricatum serves as potential daily dietary source of natural phenolics and to improve chemotherapeutic effectiveness.