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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2004, Issue 5, Pages 264-271
Research article

To Stretch the Boundary of Secondary Metabolite Production in Plant Cell-Based Bioprocessing: Anthocyanin as a Case Study

1CRC for Bioproducts and Department of Medical Biotechnology, School of Medicine, Flinders Medical Centre, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA 5042, Australia
2Marine Bioproducts Engineering Group, Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Dalian 116023, China

Received 19 April 2004; Revised 27 May 2004; Accepted 15 June 2004

Copyright © 2004 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Plant cells and tissue cultures hold great promise for controlled production of a myriad of useful secondary metabolites on demand. The current yield and productivity cannot fulfill the commercial goal of a plant cell-based bioprocess for the production of most secondary metabolites. In order to stretch the boundary, recent advances, new directions and opportunities in plant cell-based bioprocessing, have been critically examined for the 10 years from 1992 to 2002. A review of the literature indicated that most of the R&D work was devoted predominantly to studies at an empirical level. A rational approach to molecular plant cell bioprocessing based on the fundamental understanding of metabolic pathways and their regulations is urgently required to stimulate further advances; however, the strategies and technical framework are still being developed. It is the aim of this review to take a step forward in framing workable strategies and technologies for molecular plant cell-based bioprocessing. Using anthocyanin biosynthesis as a case study, an integrated postgenomic approach has been proposed. This combines the functional analysis of metabolic pathways for biosynthesis of a particular metabolite from profiling of gene expression and protein expression to metabolic profiling. A global correlation not only can thus be established at the three molecular levels, but also places emphasis on the interactions between primary metabolism and secondary metabolism; between competing and/or complimentary pathways; and between biosynthetic and post-biosynthetic events.