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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Taxol Production in Suspension Cell Cultures of Taxus

Authors
item Ketchum, Raymond
item Gibson, Donna

Submitted to: Plant Cell Tissue And Organ Culture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 9, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Taxol is an extremely new drug that is used to treat cancer. At the present time, all of the taxol used to treat cancer patients is extracted from the bark of the Pacific yew, or produced from another chemical extracted from the needles and bark of other yew species. Our laboratory has pioneered the use of an alternate source of obtaining taxol, that of plant cell culture. This technology has several advantages: 1) Plant cell culture is environmentally benign. Cells are grown in the laboratory and taxol is extracted from the liquid in which the cells are growing. 2) Production of taxol from plant cell cultures is virtually limitless. Theoretically, yew cells can be maintained indefinitely in the laboratory, and taxol extracted from the exhausted liquid medium. 3) Extraction of taxol from plant cell cultures is much cleaner, easier, and uses much lower quantities of environmentally hazardous solvents. The biggest problem with using plant cell culture for producing taxol is obtaining amounts of taxol that will b economically important. In this report, we discuss the results of our experiments to improve the liquid medium in which yew cells grow. Our improved medium gives better growth and taxol production that is 10 to 100 times greater than any previously published method.

Technical Abstract: Five separate cell lines, three Taxus canadensis and two Taxus cuspidata, were used to test the effects of carbohydrates and plant growth regulators on growth of cells and production of taxol in culture. While no single medium was developed that was optimal for all cell lines, it was possible to develop a medium for each species that represented a superior combination of growth and taxol production. A combination of NAA and thidiazuron produced the best combination of growth and taxol production in cell ines of Taxus canadensis, while IAA and BA produced the best results in cell lines of Taxus cuspidata. The mixture of surcrose and fructose gave the best combination of growth and taxol production. Our results indicate that several general media, including our standard control medium (NAA and BA), are capable of supporting growth and taxol production. Our results indicate that several general media, including our standard control medium (NAA and BA), are capable of supporting growth and taxol production from all five cell lines. The addition of carbohydrates midway through the growth cycle increased the rate at which taxol accumulated in the culture medium. The highest taxol concentration obtained, during these experiments, was 14.78 +/- 0.86 mg/L (n=3).

Last Modified: 10/30/2014
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