Rosmarinic acid, a natural polyphenol antioxidant carboxylic acid, is an important secondary metabolite in Nepeta cataria, a member of the mint family (Labiatae) and has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activities. To investigate,in vitro production of rosmarinic acid, hairy root cultures of N. cataria were established by infecting leaf and stem explants with Agrobacterium rhizogenesR1000, and tested the growth and rosmarinic acid production of these cultures. Hairy roots were cultured in Murashige and Skoog liquid medium and maximum growth (11.2 g dry wt/l) was attained after 15 days of culture, at which time the content of rosmarinic acid was 13.6 mg/g dry wt. These results demonstrate that hairy root culture of N. cataria is a valuable alternative approach for the production of rosmarinic acid.
Key words: Agrobacterium rhizogenes, catnip, hairy root, Nepeta cataria L., rosmarinic acid.