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Kinetic model of cell growth and secondary metabolite synthesis in plant cell culture ofThalictrum rugosum


A structured kinetic model was proposed to describe cell growth and synthesis of a secondary metabolite, berberine, in batch suspension culture ofThalictrum rugosum. The model was developed by representing the physiological state of the cell in terms of the activity and the viability, which can be estimated using the culture fluorescence measurement. In the proposed model, the cells were divided into three types; active-viable, nonactive-viable, and dead cells. The model was formulated in terms of cell growth (dry/fresh weight, activity, and viability), carbon source utilization (sucrose, glucose and fructose), and product formation (intracellular and extracellular berberine). The concept of cell expansion and the death phase were also included in this model to describe the sugar accumulation and the release of intracellular berberine into medium by cell lysis, respectively. The parameters used in this model were estimated based on the experimental results in conjunction with numerical optimization techniques. Satisfactory agreement between the model and experimental data was obtained. The proposed model could accurately predict cell growth and product synthesis as well as the distribution of the secondary metabolite between the cell and the medium. It is suggested that the proposed model could be extended as a useful framework for quantitative analysis of physiological characteristics in the other plant cell culture systems.

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A :

activity (g/g)

FI :

relative fluorescence intensity

k :

rate constant (day−1)

K :

Monod constant (g/L)

P :

product concentration (g/L)

S :

substrate concentration (g/L)

t :

time (days)

V :

viability (g/g)

X :

biomass concentration (g/L)

Y :

yield coefficient (g/g)


growth-associated production constant (g/g/day)


nongrowth-associated production constant (g/g/day)


cell expansion coefficient (day−1)


specific growth rate (day−1)


product degradation constant (g/g/day)


product release coefficient by cell lysis (g/g)


function for cell expansion


function for activity loss


conversion from sucrose


dry weight or death




fresh weight








lag phase










active-viable cell


dead cell


nonactive-viable cell


viable cell

P/SF :

product from fructose

P/SG :

product from glucose

X/SF :

biomass from fructose

X/SG :

biomass from glucose


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Correspondence to Jeong-Woo Choi.

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Choi, J., Kim, Y., Lee, W.H. et al. Kinetic model of cell growth and secondary metabolite synthesis in plant cell culture ofThalictrum rugosum . Biotechnol. Bioprocess Eng. 4, 129 (1999).

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Key words

  • structured kinetic model
  • Thalictrum rugosum
  • plant cell culture
  • activity
  • viability
  • secondary metabolite
  • berberine