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Biotechnological production of natural calorie free steviol glycosides in Stevia rebaudiana

Time14:53 Date20-05-2020 Hits89 Views

Stevia rebaudiana is a vital medicinal plant of the genus Stevia and family Asteraceae. It is commonly used as a natural sweetener plant and its products are 300 times sweeter than the commonly used sugarcane. The sweetening potential is due to the presence of calorie-free steviol glycosides (SGs). The plant species has been extensively profiled to identify steviol glycosides (SGs) with intensity sweetening properties.

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However, the limited production of plant material is not fulfilling the higher market demand worldwide. Researchers are working worldwide to enhance the production of important SGs through the intervention of different biotechnological approaches in S. rebaudiana. In this review, the research work conducted in the last twenty years, on the different aspects of biotechnology to en-hance the production of SGs has been precisely reviewed. Biotechnological methods such as micro-propagation, callus and cell cultures, elicitation and the metabolomics and transcriptomic elucidation of the biosynthetic metabolic pathways for the production of steviol glycosides have been concisely re-viewed and discussed.

Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni is a vital medicinal plant of the genus Stevia and family Asteraceae. It was named after M.S Bertoni who first identified this plant [1]. S. rebaudiana is a small perennial shrub having a height of 60-80 cm. The leaves are arranged oppositely lanceolate to oblanceolate and serrated from above [2]. Just like the other species of this genus, S. rebaudiana is also a diploid plant with 11 pairs of chromosomes. The inflorescence is the centripetal head, pe-dunculate and enclosed in involucre of whorled bracts with tiny white florets arranged in an irregular manner (Figs. 1 and 2). S. rebaudiana can grow well in any type of soil pro-vided with sufficient moisture and drainage.

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It is a native plant of Amambay location of Paraguay but can be found in many parts of the world including the southwestern part of the United States, Brazil and Argentina. The plant is con-sumed as a food supplement by many communities due to its good taste and is therefore cultivated in many countries such as Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Philippines, Hawaii, South America and Vietnam.

BIOLOGICAL AND MEDICINAL SIGNIFICANCE OF S. REBAUDIANA

Leaves are the most abundant source of steviol glycosides in S. rebaudiana and are used in the formulation of a variety of herbal products for human consumption including dry leaf powder, suspension or intact fresh leaves. The leaves also contain a substantial amount of other important phytochemicals such as folic acid, vitamin C and flavonoids, for instance, catechin and quercetin. The acceptable daily intake (ADI) of stevia products has been recommended as 4mg/kg bw/day for human consumption.

At this dosage, the safety of steviol glycosides has been established and con-firmed by many scientists. Steviol glycosides represent the mixture of different metabolites in which stevioside and rebaudioside constitute 95% of the total composition. Both stevioside and rebaudioside are biosynthesized in the same metabolic pathway, with steviol being the common metabolite. Studies suggest that it is safe, non-carcinogenic, not genotoxic and is also not associated with any reproductive or developmental abnormalities.

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Using stevioside as sweetener compounds for type 2 diabetes patients has been recommended as a healthy practice because it does not contain any allergen and is thus considered as a safe food.

 

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