Because plant secondary compounds are often produced only in small quantities in a particular type of cells of rare plant species, it is not always feasible to isolate secondary compounds from intact plants. Plant cell culture can be an alternative way to produce these compounds continuously under artificially controlled conditions. In particular, the production of pharmaceu-tically important plant metabolites has been a target for practical application of plant cell culture for the last few decades. Although not all attempts at practical production have been fully successful so far, several compounds, i.e., shikonin, berberine, and ginseng saponins, have been commercially produced from in vitro cell cultures.
In this chapter, we describe plant cell cultures for production of secondary metabolites, how cell cultures can be established, and which factors affect producibility of the metabolites and present several case studies of cell culture production of pigments and clinically used antineoplastic compounds.
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