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Bioreactor studies of growth and nutrient utilization in alfalfa suspension cultures

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Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) cells were grown in 500 ml, aerated and stirred batch bioreactors using Schenk and Hildebrant medium. For cultures in which the pH was allowed to vary, we observed two fairly distinct growth phases. Evidence is presented which indicates that the two-phase growth is most likely a result of the two nitrogen sources in the medium. The ammonium present in the medium is directly utilized during the first growth phase and ammonium resulting from intracellular nitrate reduction is utilized during the second phase. During the first growth phase, sucrose is completely hydrolyzed to glucose and fructose with some glucose and fructose consumption. In the second growth phase glucose is consumed preferentially over fructose. Attempts at maintaining the pH at 5.5 using 1N NaOH as the base titrant resulted in very little cell growth compared with cultures for which the pH was allowed to vary.

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Communicated by C. Quiros

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McDonald, K.A., Jackman, A.P. Bioreactor studies of growth and nutrient utilization in alfalfa suspension cultures. Plant Cell Reports 8, 455–458 (1989).

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