The advantage of a plant cell suspension culture lies in its capacity for producing bioactive substances for the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries – therapeutic proteins, active agents based on secondary metabolites, etc. – in a controlled setting isolated from environmental influences. Researchers can specifically select especially productive, individual plant cell strains and use process automation as a way of influencing growth and product formation. This reduces manufacturing costs while also optimizing production.
Plant cells in shaker flasks
Shaker flasks are used primarily for developing strains and optimizing media, as many experiments can be run cost-effectively and in parallel. An appropriately gentle drive system operated at low shaker speeds ensures that shear-sensitive plant cell suspensions will have enough oxygen available to them. Optimizing culture conditions throughout the entire bioprocess is a prerequisite for obtaining reproducible results from a culture. It follows that an incubation shaker that has been optimized for plant cell cultures allows operators to precisely control the CO2 feed and humidity. Excellent temperature uniformity is important as well.
Plant cells in bioreactors
As with other cell culture processes, gentle mixing and precise gassing play crucial roles in plant cell suspensions as well. Even just slight changes in the gas composition will alter plant cell metabolism, which, in turn, will change growth behavior and the production of secondary metabolites. Precise monitoring and control of the gas composition creates constant, optimum conditions. Because cells are highly sensitive to shear forces, the stirrer used must be capable of mixing thoroughly, even as viscosity increases, while keeping power input low and energy distribution uniform.
Controlled culture conditions
The quality and quantity of bioactive substances fluctuates when these are isolated from whole plants (in vivo). Culturing plant cells in vitro, however, makes reproducible production possible under controlled conditions. A large number of chemical and physical factors come into play when optimizing culture conditions. These include the composition of the nutrient medium, phytohormones, pH, temperature, gassing, power input and lighting.
Because plant cells often form aggregates in suspension cultures, classic OD measurements do not deliver definitive biomass determination results. Measuring light absorption (backscatter) has become established as an alternative biomass determination method. Another advantage of this measurement method is that it is commercially available as an online solution for bioreactors and shakers alike.
Version for cell cultures
-Compact incubation shaker for up to 18 L
-Two units can be stacked