Bioreactor culture of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) and effects of nitrogen source, inoculum size, and conditioned medium on biomass production

J Biotechnol. 2004 Mar 18;108(3):253-63. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiotec.2003.12.009.


We report the successful culture of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) suspension cells in a bioreactor. In vitro propagation of this perennial monocotyledonous tree is an important part of the oil palm industry's approach to clonal propagation of high-yielding accessions. During culture of oil palm cells in a batch bioreactor, nutrients and extracellular metabolites were monitored, and kinetic parameters and nutrient-to-biomass conversion yields were calculated. The biomass increased approximately 3.5-fold per month, consistent with values reported for shake flask cultures. Although the carbon source was completely depleted by the end of the run, nitrogen sources remained in large excess and the sugar-to-biomass conversion yield remained low. Linear growth indicated that the cells were limited. The results obtained from the bioreactor runs indicated that we should be able to improve biomass production by carrying out optimization studies. Therefore, we initiated multi-factorial analyses using response surface experimental designs to investigate the effects of different nitrogen sources, as well as inoculum size and conditioned medium, on biomass production in flask cultures. Whereas glutamine does not have a significant effect on biomass production, ammonia has a positive effect up to an optimum concentration. Both inoculum density and conditioned medium have positive, synergistic effects on biomass production.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Arecaceae / cytology
  • Arecaceae / embryology
  • Arecaceae / growth & development*
  • Arecaceae / metabolism*
  • Bioreactors*
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Culture Media, Conditioned / metabolism
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Models, Biological
  • Nitrogen / metabolism*


  • Culture Media, Conditioned
  • Nitrogen