In the present study, 30 Ri-transformed root lines of peanut (Arachis hypogaea) cv. JL-24, a popular Indian cultivar, obtained following infection with Agrobacterium rhizogenes strains LBA9402, A4 and R1000 were selected on the basis of growth index and maintained in vitro for 3 years. The root lines showed high degree of branching and rapid, plagiotropic growth on phytohormone free solid N/5 medium but were devoid of root hairs. Trans-resveratrol was isolated by preparative HPLC from Ri-transformed roots and identified by ESI–MS/MS. Strain independent variability was observed among 30 Ri-transformed root lines on the basis of lateral root density per cm (7.60 ± 0.30 to 4.5 ± 0.5), relative thickness (0.54 ± 0.07 to 1.54 ± 0.1 mm), growth index (9.16 ± 1.1 to 17.79 ± 1.35 FW basis and 10.77 ± 0.95 to 19.46 ± 1.78 DW basis) and trans-resveratrol content 0.27 ± 0.03 (root line R1000-1) to 0.969 ± 0.141 mg g DW−1 (root line RIX-19) in solid N/5 medium, which was 4.1–14 fold greater than in excised non-transformed root cultures (0.06 ± 0.01 mg g DW−1). Optimum growth and productivity in liquid culture was achieved in N/5 medium supplemented with 0.01 % activated charcoal. Root line RIX-19 showed maximum trans-resveratrol accumulation (1.21 ± 0.09 mg g DW−1) and productivity (0.37 ± 0.08 mg per flask), which was 19 fold higher than non-transformed root cultures. This optimized protocol can be utilized for large scale cultivation of transformed root cultures in industrial bioreactors for mass synthesis of trans-resveratrol. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.