Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 83, Issue 5, pp 809–823 | Cite as

Bioprocessing of plant cell cultures for mass production of targeted compounds

  • Milen I. GeorgievEmail author
  • Jost Weber
  • Alexandre Maciuk


More than a century has passed since the first attempt to cultivate plant cells in vitro. During this time, plant cell cultures have become increasingly attractive and cost-effective alternatives to classical approaches for the mass production of plant-derived metabolites. Furthermore, plant cell culture is the only economically feasible way of producing some high-value metabolites (e.g., paclitaxel) from rare and/or threatened plants. This review summarizes recent advances in bioprocessing aspects of plant cell cultures, from callus culture to product formation, with particular emphasis on the development of suitable bioreactor configurations (e.g., disposable reactors) for plant cell culture-based processes; the optimization of bioreactor culture environments as a powerful means to improve yields; bioreactor operational modes (fed-batch, continuous, and perfusion); and biomonitoring approaches. Recent trends in downstream processing are also considered.


Bioreactor(s) Flow cytometry Operational mode Optimization Plant cell culture Process monitoring Secondary metabolite 



We thank Dr. V. Georgiev for preparing Fig. 1, and Profs. J.J. Zhong (Shanghai Jiao Tong University), Y. Xu, and X. Qian (East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai, China) for providing us with the relative prices of the novel elicitors synthesized and used in their laboratories. Special thanks goes to D. Ullisch, R. Huber, and Prof. Dr. J. Büchs (chair of Biochemical Engineering, Aachen University of Technology, Germany) for providing us with the MTP cultivations data. This work has been supported by a National Science Fund of Bulgaria under contract number DO 02-261/2008.


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© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Milen I. Georgiev
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jost Weber
    • 2
  • Alexandre Maciuk
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Microbial Biosynthesis and Biotechnologies, Laboratory in PlovdivInstitute of Microbiology, Bulgarian Academy of SciencesPlovdivBulgaria
  2. 2.Institute of Food Technology and Bioprocess EngineeringDresden University of TechnologyDresdenGermany
  3. 3.UMR CNRS 8076 BioCIS, Laboratory of Natural Products Chemistry, School of PharmacyUniversity of Paris-Sud 11Châtenay-MalabryFrance

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