The University of Arizona

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Undergraduate research at the Natural Products Center involves plant with anti-tumor potential

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Philipp von Bieberstein's independent study research at the Natural Products Center compares growth of a medicinal plant in hydroponic versus aeroponic systems in greenhouses. The plant is Withania somnifera, a member of the tomato family that contains a potential anti-tumor agent called withaferin A, which can be isolated through chemistry. As the patent holder for production of the withaferin A compound by aeroponic cultivation, NPC is investigating how to produce the compound more efficiently.

During the fall semester, von Bieberstein began working on an independent study regarding the effects of different growing conditions on the overall production of biomass in Withania somnifera. In the experiment, the biomass consists of the aerial parts of the plant – the stem and leaves – harvested for use.

Read more about von Bieberstein's experience at NPC:

Photos by Michaela Brumbaugh, Courtesy of UANews.