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Appl Biochem Biotechnol. 2015 Jan;175(2):841-54. doi: 10.1007/s12010-014-1320-5. Epub 2014 Oct 25.

Techno-economic analysis of horseradish peroxidase production using a transient expression system in Nicotiana benthamiana.

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Department of Engineering and Technology Management, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, 0002, Gauteng, South Africa,


Despite the advantages of plant-based transient expression systems relative to microbial or mammalian cell systems, the commercial production of recombinant proteins using plants has not yet been achieved to any significant extent. One of the challenges has been the lack of published data on the costs of manufacture for products other than biopharmaceuticals. In this study, we report on the techno-economic analysis of the production of a standard commercial enzyme, namely, horseradish peroxidase (HRP), using a transient expression system in Nicotiana benthamiana. Based on the proven plant yield of 240 mg HRP/kg biomass, a biomass productivity of 15-kg biomass/m(2)/year and a process yield of 54 % (mg HRP product/mg HRP in biomass), it is apparent that HRP can be manufactured economically via transient expression in plants in a large-scale facility (>5 kg HRP/year). At this level, the process is competitive versus the existing technology (extraction of the enzyme from horseradish), and the product is of comparable or improved activity, containing only the preferred isoenzyme C. Production scale, protein yield and biomass productivity are found to be the most important determinants of overall viability.

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