Plant cell and tissue cultures have been demonstrated to produce a wide range of secondary metabolites. A universal bioreactor suited for all plant cell and tissue culture types does not exist. Moreover, the most suitable bioreactor has to be estimated experimentally for every cell culture type and cell line. On the basis of known characteristics of the specific cell or tissue culture type, stirred reactors, rotating drum reactors, airlift reactors, bubble columns, fluidized bed reactors, packed bed reactors, and trickle bed reactors with working volumes from 0.75 L up to 75 m3 in batch and fed-batch mode seem to be the most appropriate reactor configurations.

Hence, the production costs for products derived from plant cell and tissue cultures in these conventional bioreactors will be economically viable only for high-value products. Disposable, scalable, low-cost bioreactors were developed to overcome this problem. The types discussed here (plastic-lined reactor, wave reactor, RITA) provided advantages when used in production of secondary metabolites based on plant cell and tissue cultures. It is suggested that these new bioreactor types could improve the process efficiency for more valuable plant-derived products and result in a new wave of their industrial production.

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