Sustainable production of bioactive alkaloids in Psychotria L. of southern Brazil: propagation and elicitation strategies

ABSTRACT Psychotria is the largest genus in Rubiaceae. South American species of the genus are promising sources of natural products, mostly due to bioactive monoterpene indole alkaloids they accumulate. These alkaloids can have analgesic, antimutagenic, and antioxidant activities in different experimental models, among other pharmacological properties of interest. Propagation of genotypes with relevant pharmaceutical interest is important for obtaining natural products in a sustainable and standardized fashion. Besides the clonal propagation of elite individuals, the alkaloid content of Psychotria spp. can also be increased by applying moderate stressors or stress-signaling molecules. This review explores advances in research on methods for plant propagation and elicitation techniques for obtaining bioactive alkaloids from Psychotria spp. of the South Region of Brazil.