Bioreactors for Horticultural and Medicinal Plant production
This blog post is dedicated to exploring the ways in which bioreactors are transforming the cultivation of horticultural and medicinal crops on a large scale, and how Amerging Technologies are contributing to making this possible.
In brief, bioreactors are a type of device used in the production of a wide range of products, including pharmaceuticals, enzymes, and biofuels. However, there has been increasing interest in using bioreactors for the production of horticultural and medicinal plants in recent years. This is due to the advantages that bioreactors offer in terms of controlled environments, optimized growth, and year-round production.
Bioreactor vs. Conventional micropropagation
Micropropagation, also known as tissue culture, is a popular technique for producing elite clones of economically important crop species. However, this technique using solid media is typically labor-intensive, time-consuming, and has limited commercial use due to high labor costs. Conventional micropropagation is also limited by contamination risks and low multiplication rates, resulting in poor survival rates.
Bioreactors provide precise control over gaseous exchange and nutrient uptake, which are essential for plant growth, development, and survival. Bioreactor technology offers several advantages over conventional micropropagation methods, including automation, optimized growth conditions, saving labor and reduced production costs, and increasing the yield of bioactive compounds.
In recent years, a new type of bioreactor technology has been developed for large-scale micropropagation of horticultural plants. This low-cost bioreactor system uses liquid media and a semi-automated system to control the rapid multiplication of plant cultures making it an attractive option for commercial micropropagation.
Additionally, bioreactors can be used to produce plants year-round, regardless of environmental conditions. This is particularly important for the production of medicinal plants, which may be in high demand year-round but are subject to seasonal fluctuations in availability. By using bioreactors, it is possible to produce medicinal plants on a continuous basis, ensuring a steady supply of these important crops.
Advancements in bioreactor technology have allowed for the automation of micropropagation via organogenesis or somatic embryogenesis which could offer a more affordable and efficient alternative to the conventional, labor-intensive methods of clonal propagation.
Types of Bioreactors for Horticultural and Medicinal Plant Production
The choice of bioreactor will depend on the specific requirements of the plant being produced, as well as the scale of production. The most commonly used bioreactors are:
1. Stirred-Tank Bioreactors: These bioreactors use mechanical stirring to keep the plant cells in suspension and ensure a consistent supply of nutrients and oxygen. They are often used for the production of plant cell cultures, which can be used to produce bioactive compounds.
2. Airlift Bioreactors: These bioreactors use aeration to keep the plant cells in suspension, without the need for mechanical stirring. They are often used for the production of microalgae, which can be used as a source of bioactive compounds or as a food supplement.
3. Membrane Bioreactors: These bioreactors use membranes to separate the plant cells from the growth medium, which can help to improve the purity of the bioactive compounds produced. They are often used for the production of plant extracts, which can be used in pharmaceuticals or cosmetics.
Implications of Bioreactors in mass propagation
Bioreactors are widely used in the micropropagation of plants to produce large numbers of plantlets under controlled conditions. Here are some ways bioreactors are used in the micropropagation of plants:
1. Suspension culture: Bioreactors can be used for the mass propagation of plant cells in suspension culture. In suspension culture, plant cells are grown in a liquid medium in a bioreactor, allowing for the rapid growth and development of plantlets. This method is useful for propagating plants that are difficult to propagate by traditional methods. Examples include ginseng which of the Araliaceae family, is one of the most valuable oriental herbs.
2. Immobilized cell culture: Bioreactors can also be used for immobilized cell culture, where plant cells are immobilized on a solid support and then grown in a bioreactor. This method is useful for the propagation of plants that require a specific substrate for growth.
3. Temporary immersion bioreactors: Temporary immersion bioreactors (TIBs) are bioreactors that use a cyclic immersion process to grow plantlets. In TIBs, plantlets are periodically immersed in a nutrient-rich liquid medium, allowing for the rapid growth and development of plantlets. This method is particularly useful for the propagation of orchids and other slow-growing plants.
4. Aeroponics: Bioreactors can also be used for aeroponic culture, where plantlets are grown in a nutrient-rich mist in a bioreactor. This method is useful for the propagation of plants that require high oxygen levels and do not tolerate soil-borne diseases.
5. Secondary metabolite production: Stirred tank bioreactors are used for the production of Galphimine- B by using the callus cell culture of Galphimia glauca Cav. sp. and airlift bioreactors are used in the production of Phenolics, and flavonoids using leaf cells of Morinda citrifolia L. sp. Mouse interleukin-12 was also produced by using hairy roots of Nicotiana tabacum L.sp.
How Amerging Technologies Contribute?
Amerging Technologies are playing a critical role in advancing the production of medicinal plants by providing innovative bioreactor systems which can be utilized in various fields including plant propagation.
Our bioreactors offer automated and semi-automated control over environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and nutrient supply, aeration which are very important for optimizing the yield and quality of medicinal plant cultures.
Moreover, we are providing technical support to our clients to ensure that their bioreactor systems are optimized for medicinal plant production which includes customizing it according to their needs and providing process optimization strategies.
In addition, we are also supplying our bioreactors to research institutions and universities which helps us to innovate and improve the existing bioreactors for medicinal plant propagation which helps them in identifying the new plant-based compounds that have potential in pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries.
Overall, our products are helping to meet the increasing demand for natural plant-based compounds and plant-based medicines in the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries.
Challenges of Bioreactor Production of Horticultural and Medicinal Plants
Although the use of bioreactors for the production of horticultural and medicinal plants offers many advantages, there are still several challenges that must be overcome.
The primary challenge is the high cost of bioreactor production and operation, which can make it difficult to scale up production to commercial levels. Additionally, there may be regulatory hurdles to overcome in the case of medicinal plants that are subject to strict quality control requirements.
Moreover, inconsistencies in optimizing bioreactor types and culture parameters have been observed. Although the main source of these inconsistencies may be due to species-to-species variations, so results should be interpreted carefully. Once the culture conditions have been established in a small-scale bioreactor, cultures can be easily scaled up to large-scale in industrial-scale bioreactors. Also, the major problem in hairy root cultures in bioreactors is the restriction of nutrient oxygen supply that leads to the production of senescent cells.
The use of bioreactors for the production of horticultural and medicinal plants is an exciting area of research, and our Amerging technologies by providing the best quality bioreactors are contributing to bringing the revolution in the way we produce important horticultural and medicinal crops ensuring a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to conventional micro-propagation techniques. While there are still many challenges to be overcome, the development of new bioreactor technologies and production methods is likely to lead to significant advances in this field and we are always open to innovating and advancing the bioreactor systems by transforming the technology to the future. With continued research and investment, bioreactor production of horticultural and medicinal plants may become a viable and sustainable alternative to traditional agricultural methods ensuring the availability of high-quality, disease-free planting material for commercial and research purposes.
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3. Kaya, E., Galatali, S., Guldag, S., Ozturk, B., Ceylan, M., Celik, O., & Aktay, I. (2018). Mass Production of Medicinal Plants for Obtaining Secondary Metabolite Using Liquid Mediums Via Bioreactor Systems: SETIS™ and RITA®. Turkish Journal of Agriculture - Food Science and Technology, 6(5), 641-645.