• disposable bioreactor;
  • cell culture;
  • slug bubble;
  • secondary metabolites;
  • Nicotiana tabacum;
  • Glycine max


The present article describes two novel flexible plastic-based disposable bioreactors. The first one, the WU bioreactor, is based on the principle of a wave and undertow mechanism that provides agitation while offering convenient mixing and aeration to the plant cell culture contained within the bioreactor. The second one is a high aspect ratio bubble column bioreactor, where agitation and aeration are achieved through the intermittent generation of large diameter bubbles, “Taylor-like” or “slug bubbles” (SB bioreactor). It allows an easy volume increase from a few liters to larger volumes up to several hundred liters with the use of multiple units. The cultivation of tobacco and soya cells producing isoflavones is described up to 70 and 100 L working volume for the SB bioreactor and WU bioreactor, respectively. The bioreactors being disposable and pre-sterilized before use, cleaning, sterilization, and maintenance operations are strongly reduced or eliminated. Both bioreactors represent efficient and low cost cell culture systems, applicable to various cell cultures at small and medium scale, complementary to traditional stainless-steel bioreactors. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2007;96:914–923. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.