The elicitation of Hyoscyamus muticus root and cell suspension cultures by fungal elicitor from Rhizoctonia solani causes dramatic changes in respiration, nutrient yields, and growth. Cells and mature root tissues have similar specific oxygen uptake rates (SOUR) before and after the onset of the elicitation process. Cell suspension SOUR were 11 and 18 μmol O2/g FW·h for non-elicited control and elicited cultures, respectively. Mature root SOUR were 11 and 24 μmol O2/g FW·h for control and elicited tissue, respectively. Tissue growth is significantly reduced upon the addition of elicitor to these cultures. Inorganic yield remains fairly constant, whereas yield on sugar is reduced from 0.532 to 0.352 g dry biomass per g sugar for roots and 0.614 to 0.440 g dry biomass per g sugar for cells. This reduction in yield results from increased energy requirements for the defense response. Growth reduction is reflected in a reduction in root meristem (tip) SOUR, which decreased from 189 to 70 μmol O2/g FW·h upon elicitation. Therefore, despite the increase in total respiration, the maximum local oxygen fluxes are reduced as a result of the reduction in metabolic activity at the meristem. This distribution of oxygen uptake throughout the mature tissue could reduce mass transfer requirements during elicited production. However, this was not found to be the case for sesquiterpene elicitation, where production of lubimin and solavetivone were found to increase linearly up to oxygen partial pressures of 40% O2 in air. SOUR is shown to similarly increase in both bubble column and tubular reactors despite severe mass transfer limitations, suggesting the possibility of metabolically induced increases in tissue convective transport during elicitation.
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