As molecular farmers, we were much impressed last year by a technology developed by the folk at the Fraunhofer IME in Aachen: this is “METHOD FOR THE GENERATION AND CULTIVATION OF A PLANT CELL PACK“, with Thomas Rademacher as sole inventor on the patent application. Basically, this involves
- making a “cookie” or cell pack with cultured plant cells, by suction of a suspension onto a membrane
- drizzling recombinant Agrobacterium tumefaciens onto the cookie, then sucking away excess fluid
- incubating the cell cookie in a humid environment for a few days, until the desired level of protein expression has been reached
There are all sorts of things one could dream up for the application of this technology, given that one can make cookies of all sorts of depths and widths, in everything from spin columns to multiwell plates – and high-throughput screening of expression constructs comes to mind immediately.
Now fortunately, Inga Hitzeroth of our Biopharming Research Unit here at UCT (the BRU) has a National Research Foundation-administered bilateral grant with the folk at the Fraunhofer IME, which has meant we have money for joint workshops and the like – so we are having a hands-on Workshop on “Plant Cell Packs for Transient Expression: Innovating the Field of Molecular Biopharming” affiliated to our “Virology Africa 2015” conference next week. We plan to develop an illustrated manual along with a full suite of technical tips after the Workshop.
And as part of which, one has of course to feed and entertain the participants – hence our expedition to The Spice Route wine farm complex yesterday. Hard work, this science…B-)