Chitosan Oligosaccharides Promote the Content of Polyphenols in Greek Oregano (Origanum vulgare ssp. hirtum)

Chitosan Oligosaccharides Promote the Content of Polyphenols in Greek Oregano (Origanum vulgare ssp. hirtum)

Author Information

Heng Yin1,2, Xavier C. Fretté3, Lars P. Christensen3, Kai Grevsen1.

1Department of Food Science, Faculty of Science and Technology, Aarhus University, Kirstinebjergvej 10, Aarslev DK-5792, Denmark.

2Liaoning Provincial Key Laboratory of Carbohydrates, Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Dalian 116023, People’s Republic of China.

3Institute of Chemical Engineering, Biotechnology and Environmental Technology, Faculty of Engineering, University of Southern Denmark, Niels Bohrs Allé 1, Odense DK-5230, Denmark


Greek oregano is commonly used as a spice and in traditional medicine in Eurasia. The plant is rich in secondary metabolites, such as volatile organic compounds (VOC) and polyphenols. Chitosan oligosaccharides (COS) are used as a plant elicitor. The objectives of this study were to determine the effects of COS on the growth and content of secondary metabolites in Greek oregano. Four COS treatments (50, 200, 500, and 1000 ppm) were used in a field experiment. The 200 and 500 ppm COS treatments promoted plant height growth, whereas 50 and 200 ppm COS upregulated the content of polyphenols significantly (38 and 29%, respectively). The COS treatments induced H2O2 generation in Greek oregano leaves; thus, the effect of H2O2 treatment was studied to investigate the possible role of H2O2 in growth and polyphenol production. A low concentration of H2O2 also promoted plant height growth, but only tendencies to higher polyphenol content were seen.

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