The effect of ajmalicine spiking and resin addition timing on the production of indole alkaloids from Catharanthus roseus cell cultures

Authors

  • Carolyn W. T. Lee-Parsons,

    1. School of Chemical Engineering, Cornell University, 120 Olin Hall, Ithaca, New York 14853-5201; telephone: 607-255-7577; fax: 607-255-9166
    Current affiliation:
    1. 342 Snell Engineering Center, Chemical Engineering Department, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115-5000. Telephone: 617-373-2989; fax: 617-373-2209
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  • Michael L. Shuler

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Chemical Engineering, Cornell University, 120 Olin Hall, Ithaca, New York 14853-5201; telephone: 607-255-7577; fax: 607-255-9166
    • School of Chemical Engineering, Cornell University, 120 Olin Hall, Ithaca, New York 14853-5201; telephone: 607-255-7577; fax: 607-255-9166
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Abstract

The potential for the feedback inhibition of indole alkaloid synthesis was investigated by spiking suspension cultures of Catharanthus roseus with 0, 9, or 18 mg/L ajmalicine on day 0. The production of ajmalicine, catharanthine, and serpentine were inhibited in a dose-dependent manner. The inhibition was transient as the exogenous ajmalicine was ultimately either metabolized in the medium or within the cell. The addition of neutral resin has previously been shown to enhance ajmalicine production. To minimize product inhibition and product metabolism, Amberlite XAD-7 resin was added to immobilized cultures of C. roseus starting on either day 0, 5, or 15, and fresh resin was exchanged for spent resin every 5 days. The addition of resin did not decrease the viability of the culture. Growth was reduced only in cultures with resin added on day 0. Alkaloid production was enhanced to different extents by the timing of resin addition, suggesting that feedback inhibition or product metabolism was present throughout the culture period. Ajmalicine recovery was nearly 100% when the resin was added initially either on day 0 or day 5. Ajmalicine recovery was reduced to 55% when the resin was added later in the culture period starting on day 15, presumably because of resin saturation or the inaccessibility of alkaloids trapped in the vacuole. Delaying the addition of XAD-7 resin until 5 days after the start of the culture resulted in the highest improvement in ajmalicine production, i.e ∼70% and also resulted in the complete recovery of ajmalicine from the cell. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Biotechnol Bioeng 79: 408–415, 2002.

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