A mini-hydroponic growing system was employed for seedlings of kudzu vine (Pueraria montana) and contents of isoflavones (daidzein, genistein, daidzin, genistin, and puerarin) from shoot and root parts of seedlings were analyzed quantitatively. In addition, exogenous cork pieces, polymeric adsorbent, XAD-4, and universal elicitor, methyl jasmonate (MeJA), were used to regulate the production of these isoflavones. It was shown that cork pieces up-regulate the production of daidzein and genistein up to seven- and eight-fold greater than the levels obtained for control roots. In contrast, levels of glucosyl conjugates, daidzin and genistin, decrease up to five- and eight-fold, respectively. Cork treatment also induces the excretion of the root isoflavone constituents into the growth medium. Minimal levels of isoflavones are absorbed by the cork pieces. XAD-4 stimulates the production of glucosyl conjugates, daidzin and genistin, in root parts about 1.5-fold greater than that obtained in control roots. These are the highest amounts of daidzin and genistin that are observed (5.101 and 6.759 mg g−1 dry weight, respectively). In contrast to these two adsorbents, MeJA increases the accumulation of isoflavones in shoot rather than in root parts of seedlings, about three- to four-fold over control levels, with the exception of genistein. These studies reveal new observations on the regulation of isoflavone production in hydroponically grown Pueraria montana plants by two adsorbents (cork pieces and XAD-4) and MeJA elicitor.
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