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Shikimic Acid (Tamiflu Precursor) Production in Suspension Cultures of East Indian Sandal
Biswapriya B. Misra and Satyahari Dey
1 Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, Midnapore (West), Kharagpur-721302, West Bengal, India. 2Universiti Sains Malaysia (CCB@USM), Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Shikimic acid is the key precursor for industrial synthesis of the potent neuraminidase inhibitor, oseltamivir (Tamiflu) that has tremendous importance in the treatment of flu. Plant and microbial sources are the only sources of shikimic acid. We report, suspension cultures of Indian Sandalwood tree (Santalum album L.) grown in air-lift bioreactor and shake-flask cultures as alternative and renewable resource of shikimic acid. Hot aqueous and ethanolic preparations of biomass and spent media yielding shikimic acid and quinic acid were further characterized by TLC and LC-ESI-MS/ MS analyses. Suspension cultures in Erlenmeyer shake flask and air-lift bioreactor of 50 mL and 2 L volumes, yielded 0.07 and 0.08 % (w/w) shikimic acid, respectively, in 2-3 weeks. Significantly, we propose that alternative plant cell cultures, sans rigorous genetic manipulation can be exploited commercially for shikimic acid production.

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