, Volume 37, Issue 9, pp 1799-1808
Date: 22 Mar 2014

Viability characterization of Taxus chinensis plant cell suspension cultures by rapid colorimetric- and image analysis-based techniques

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For the commercially established process of paclitaxel production with Taxus chinensis plant cell culture, the size of plant cell aggregates and phenotypic changes in coloration during cultivation have long been acknowledged as intangible parameters. So far, the variability of aggregates and coloration of cells are challenging parameters for any viability assay. The aim of this study was to investigate simple and non-toxic methods for viability determination of Taxus cultures in order to provide a practicable, rapid, robust and reproducible way to sample large amounts of material. A further goal was to examine whether Taxus aggregate cell coloration is related to general cell viability and might be exploited by microscopy and image analysis to gain easy access to general cell viability. The Alamar Blue assay was found to be exceptionally eligible for viability estimation. Moreover, aggregate coloration, as a morphologic attribute, was quantified by image analysis and found to be a good and traceable indicator of T. chinensis viability.