The potential of bioreactor technology for large-scale plant micropropagation

R. Ibrahim
Conventional micropropagation technique using solid media is a typically labor-intensive method of producing elite clones and is limited to commercial purpose due to high labor costs. The commercial facilities of conventional micropropagation of economically important crop species are limited as a result of large numbers needed annually by growers in addition to high production costs. These result primarily from sophisticated and high cost devices, high labor cost, low multiplication rate, long duration of multiplication before plantlets can be transferred to the field, and poor survival rates resulting from contamination risks and during acclimatization. All of these disadvantages contributed to a major setback in the use of micropropagation for scaling up of potential horticultural species for commercialization. Bioreactor technology offers various advantages due to possibilities of automation, saving labor and reducing production costs by providing optimum growth conditions to achieve both maximum yield and high quality of propagules, or to keep the production costs as low as possible by integrating automated facilities and simple low cost devices. The use of bioreactor technology is gaining its popularity and acceptance by local private micropropagation companies for commercialization and the results suggest the practical applicability of this system in plant propagation. Here we attempted to compare the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of established bioreactor systems with a new type of bioreactor for the large-scale micropropagation of several important horticultural plants. This low cost bioreactor technology uses liquid media with a semi-automated system to control rapid multiplication of plant cultures by using a precise control of the gaseous exchange and nutrient uptake which are required by plants for growth, development and survival. This new bioreactor system was designed to simplify the operation and reduce production costs.
Ibrahim, R. (2017). The potential of bioreactor technology for large-scale plant micropropagation. Acta Hortic. 1155, 573-584
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2017.1155.84
air-lift bioreactor, BIO-TIS, Eurycoma longifolia Jack, Pilot Plant Bioreactor System, pineapple, RITA, temporary immersion bioreactor

Acta Horticulturae