During the past four decades plant cell biotechnology has evolved as a promising new area within the field of biotechnology, focusing on production of secondary metabolites and in vitro propagation of plants. Boraginaceae is one of the family that biotechnological tools were applied extensively because of their economically, ornamentally and medicinally valuable seconder metabolites as well as their endangered species. The Boraginaceae family is known as Borage or Forget-me-not, contains more than 156 genera and about 2000 species including annual, perrenial herbs, shrubs and trees. Members of the family were distributed mostly in sandy -drier regions of the world. The most well-known members of the family are Forget me not (Myosotis sp.), Borage (Borago sp.), Comfreys (Symphytum sp.), and Heliotrope (Heliotropium sp.). A good number of the family members are used as a source of dye in cosmetics, food, textile and also in medical field. Selected species of the family utilized for obtaining secondary metabolites including naphtaquinone derivatives, rosmarinic acid and pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Due to their medicinal, economical and ecological importance, biotechnological tools such as plant tissue culture, metabolic engineering and in vitro micropropagation have been applied to produce biologically active compounds, pigments and to increase the population of the endangered species.
The purpose of this chapter to review studies performed utilizing biotechnological methods in diverse members of this family. Botanical aspects, traditional usage, chemical constituents and production of secondary metabolites in cultures and via metabolic engineering in some of the family members were also reviewed in brief.
Keywords: Boraginaceae, biotechnology, in vitro propagation, naphtaquinones, Arnebia, plant cell culture, callus culture, plant tissue culture, elicitor, hairy root culture, Onosma, pyrrolizidine alkaloids.