To evaluate the novel strategy of oleic acid and fungal elicitor (made from Aspergillus niger) to elicit betulinic acid biosynthesis in medicinal mushroom Inonotus obliquus, we conduct the stimulatory effects investigation for synthesizing betulinic acid from betulin. HPLC results indicated oleic acid and fungal elicitor were effective stimulators. The supplementation of 1.0 g/L oleic acid led to the highest increase of betulinic acid either in dry mycelia or fermentation broth by 2-fold of the control. Fungal elicitor at 45 mg/L markedly increases mycelia growth by 146.0% and enhance intracellular betulinic acid accumulation by 429.5% as compared to the controls. Quantification of transcription levels determined that oleic acid, fungal elicitor and their combinations could induce the expressions of key genes involved in betulinic acid biosynthesis, such as HMG-CoA reductase and squalene synthase. These findings indicated that oleic acid and fungal elicitor could enhance betulinic acid metabolism by up-regulating key genes expression.
Keywords: Inonotus obliquus; betulinic acid; fungal elicitor; medicinal mushroom; oleic acid.