The present study examined the effects of plant growth hormones, incubation period, biotic (Trametes versicolor, Mucor sp., Penicillium notatum, Rhizopus stolonifer, and Fusarium oxysporum) and abiotic (NaCl, MgSO(4), FeSO(4), ZnSO(4), and FeCl(3)) elicitors on cell growth and α-tocopherol and pigment (red and yellow) productions in Carthamus tinctorius cell cultures. The cell growth and α-tocopherol and pigment contents improved significantly on Murashige and Skoog (MS) liquid medium containing 50.0 μM α-naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) and 2.5 μM 6-Benzyladenine (BA) at 28 days of incubation period. Incorporation of T. versicolor (50 mg l(-1)) significantly enhanced the production of α-tocopherol (12.7-fold) and red pigment (4.24-fold). Similarly, supplementation of 30 mg l(-1) T. versicolor (7.54-fold) and 70 mg l(-1) Mucor sp. (7.40-fold) significantly increased the production of yellow pigment. Among abiotic elicitors, NaCl (50-70 mg l(-1)) and MgSO(4) (10-30 mg l(-1)) significantly improved production of α-tocopherol (1.24-fold) and red pigment (20-fold), whereas yellow pigment content increased considerably by all the abiotic elicitor treatments. Taken together, the present study reports improved productions of α-tocopherol and the pigment as a stress response of safflower cell cultures exposed to these elicitors.