Involvement of C<sub>6</sub>-volatiles in quality formation of herbal medicine: A case study in <i>Astragalus membranaceus</i> var. <i>mongholicus</i>


  • Haifeng Sun
  • Baoling Kang
  • Liping Kang
  • Lanping Guo
  • Huanhuan Sun
  • Jianping Gao



C6-volatiles, medicinal plants, secondary metabolism, growth, omics


In this study, the effects of exogenous C6-volatiles on Astragalus membranaceus var. mongholicus growth and secondary metabolism were explored. Five-week old seedlings of A. membranaceus var. mongholicus were exposed to different concentrations of soil-borne hexanal (10, 50, 100 μM) twice/week for 4 weeks. Non-treated plants serve as control. Growth, bioactive compounds and gene expression were measured by conventional and “omic” approaches. The results demonstrated: (1) all doses of hexanal significantly decreased chlorophyll a/b contents; (2) 10 and 100 μM hexanal significantly decreased the shoot length while 50 μM hexanal kept the value at the same level as it was in the control; (3) 50 μM hexanal effectively enhanced the contents of bioactive compounds in roots and the others had no obvious effect; (4) 50 μM hexanal induced more dysregulated metabolites in leaves than in roots, especially those associated with lipid metabolism; (5) expression of unigenes annotaed as “plant-pathogen interaction”, “secondary metabolism” and “lipid metabolism” were largely induced as well as those classified into multiple growth and defense signaling pathways. Taken together, C6-volatiles can serve as potential elicitors for quality formation of herbal medicines.


The online version of this article (doi: 10.5073/JABFQ.2017.090.027) contains supplementary files.