Studies on chemical constituents and immunological function activity of hairy root of Astragalus membranaceus

Chin J Biotechnol. 1998;14(2):93-7.


Using a large-scale culture technique, the hairy roots of Astragalus membranaceus were produced with a yield reaching 10 g/L. The results from RP-HPLC detection showed that the contents of crude saponin and astragaloside i.v. in the hairy roots were 5.81% and 0.14%, respectively. Six isoflavonoid compounds were also determined. Polysaccharide analysis showed that the total polysaccharide content in the hairy roots was 22.97%; of this content, acidic 8.29% and soluble 14.88%. In comparison with the dry roots, the hairy roots contained higher crude saponin and soluble polysaccharide contents, similar astragaloside i.v. content and lower contents of 6 isoflavonoids, total and acidic polysaccharides, showing that the quality of both types of roots was similar. Regaining the immunity function of rats with low immunity after feeding the aqueous extract of the hairy roots produced by large-scale culture showed that its capacity was similar to the dry roots of A. membranaceus in increasing the immunity function. The results in this paper give evidence that the hairy roots may be a new source of A. membranaceus.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astragalus propinquus
  • Isoflavones / analysis
  • Plant Roots / growth & development
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry*
  • Plants, Medicinal / growth & development
  • Plants, Medicinal / immunology*
  • Polysaccharides / analysis
  • Rats
  • Saponins / analysis


  • Isoflavones
  • Polysaccharides
  • Saponins