An Efficient Method for the Genetic Transformation of Acmella oleracea L. (Spilanthes acmella Linn.) with Agrobacterium tumefaciens

Plants (Basel). 2021 Jan 21;10(2):198. doi: 10.3390/plants10020198.


Acmella oleracea L. is an important medicinal plant, commonly known as the toothache plant. It is a rich source of secondary metabolites used for the treatment of different human disorders. The demand for Acmella oleracea L. has increased due to its putative health benefits (in terms of both biomass quantity and bioactive compound purification). In vitro plant cultures have allowed the rapid increase of raw material availability through the use of suitable regeneration and multiplication systems. On the other hand, there is a general lack of methods for Acmella genetic transformation as a promising new technological approach for the improvement of secondary metabolites. In this work, an efficient transformation protocol has been established using the Agrobacterium tumefaciens LBA4404 strain bearing the binary vector pBI121 containing the NPTII gene for the resistance to kanamycin. Plant genetic transformation has been verified by direct polymerase chain reaction and GUS assay on regenerants. Transformation efficiency has been affected by the high level of the selection agent kanamycin. To our knowledge, this is the first report on the genetic transformation of A. oleracea, paving the way to further studies to improve in vitro plant growth and secondary metabolite production.

Keywords: Acmella oleracea; Agrobacterium; GUS detection; genetic transformation; kanamycin resistance; stem node regeneration.