BMB Rep. 2016; 49(3): 149-158  
Plant cell culture strategies for the production of natural products
Marisol Ochoa-Villarreal1, Susan Howat1, SunMi Hong2, Mi Ok Jang2, Young-Woo Jin2, Eun-Kyong Lee 2 & Gary J. Loake1,*
1Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences, School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3BF, UK, 2Unhwa Corp., Jeonju 55017, Korea
Correspondence to: Tel: +44-131-650-5332; Fax: +44-131-650-5392; E-mail:
Received: December 22, 2015; Published online: March 31, 2016.
© Korean Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. All rights reserved.

Plants have evolved a vast chemical cornucopia to support their sessile lifestyles. Man has exploited this natural resource since Neolithic times and currently plant-derived chemicals are exploited for a myriad of applications. However, plant sources of most high-value natural products (NPs) are not domesticated and therefore their production cannot be undertaken on an agricultural scale. Further, these plant species are often slow growing, their populations limiting, the concentration of the target molecule highly variable and routinely present at extremely low concentrations. Plant cell and organ culture constitutes a sustainable, controllable and environmentally friendly tool for the industrial production of plant NPs. Further, advances in cell line selection, biotransformation, product secretion, cell permeabilisation, extraction and scale-up, among others, are driving increases in plant NP yields. However, there remain significant obstacles to the commercial synthesis of high-value chemicals from these sources. The relatively recent isolation, culturing and characterisation of cambial meristematic cells (CMCs), provides an emerging platform to circumvent many of these potential difficulties.
Keywords: Cambial meristematic cells, Hairy root culture, Natural products, Plant bioreactors, Plant cell culture

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