Alkaloid profiles of root and shoot cultures, seedlings and mature plants were analysed by capillary GLC and GLC-MS. β-Carboline alkaloids, such as harmine, harmaline dominate in normal and root cultures transformed by Agrobacterium rhizogenes, as well as in roots and fruits of the plant. In shoots, flowers and shoot cultures quinoline alkaloids such as peganine, deoxypeganine, vasicinone and deoxyvasicinone widely replace the β-carboline alkaloids. In root cultures, the formation of β-carboline alkaloids can be induced by methyljasmonate and several other elicitors indicating that these alkaloids are part of the reactive chemical defence system of Peganum harmala.
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