Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture (PCTOC)

, Volume 135, Issue 1, pp 37–51 | Cite as

Advancement of the cultivation and upscaling of photoautotrophic suspension cultures using Chenopodium rubrum as a case study

  • Anna Segečová
  • Jan Červený
  • Thomas Roitsch
Original Article


Photoautotrophic (PA) suspension cultures combine the advantages of cell suspensions with carbon autotrophy and have been used for various applications including studies on photosynthesis, sugar signal transduction, herbicide action, and stress responses. A major practical drawback is the requirement for elevated CO2, which is typically generated by a buffer system in two-tier flasks that need to be custom made and require time-consuming handling. In this study, we substantially simplified and improved the cultivation of a PA culture of Chenopodium rubrum as a case study in Erlenmeyer flasks shaken in a CO2 enriched photoincubator. Growth rates and photosynthetic activity were found to be comparable to those in two-tier flasks but with the advantage of constant CO2 level throughout the cultivation. In addition, it was possible to establish the cultivation in a commercial laboratory-scale photobioreactor with various options to control and continuously measure the culture conditions and regimes and assess the physiological status. Although the relative biomass yield and photosynthetic performance of the batch cultures was not fully reached, the continuous cultivation system provides a good basis for future scale-up if larger amounts of biomass are needed or to impose specific cultivation regimes in combination with comprehensive online monitoring. The different improvements should contribute to the more widespread use of higher plant PA cultures and also facilitate the cultivation of microalgae.


Growth characterization Photobioreactor Photosynthesis Physiology Biotechnology 



Days after subculturing


Dry weight


Erlenmeyer flask


Maximum quantum efficiency of photosystem II


Nephelometric turbidity unit






Packed cell volume


Two-tiered flask



This work was supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of CR within the National Sustainability Program I (NPU I), grant number LO1415 and The Czech Science Foundation (GA CR), grant number 15-17367S. Access to instruments and other facilities was supported by the Czech Research Infrastructure for Systems Biology C4SYS (project no LM2015055).

Author Contributions

AS did the experimental work, all authors contributed to experimental design, writing of the manuscript and approved the manuscript for publishing.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Adaptive BiotechnologiesGlobal Change Research Institute, CASBrnoCzech Republic
  2. 2.Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment (RECETOX)Masaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic
  3. 3.Copenhagen Plant Science CentreUniversity of CopenhagenTaastrupDenmark

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