Life cycle assessment of plant cell cultures

Yumi Kobayashi, Elviira Kärkkäinen, Suvi Häkkinen , Liisa Nohynek , Anneli Ritala , Heiko Rischer , Hanna Tuomisto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


A novel food such as plant cell culture (PCC) is an important complementary asset for traditional agriculture to tackle global food insecurity. To evaluate environmental impacts of PCC, a life cycle assessment was applied to tobacco bright yellow-2 and cloudberry PCCs. Global warming potential (GWP), freshwater eutrophication potential (FEUP), marine eutrophication potential, terrestrial acidification potential (TAP), stratospheric ozone depletion, water consumption and land use were assessed. The results showed particularly high contributions (82–93%) of electricity consumption to GWP, FEUP and TAP. Sensitivity analysis indicated that using wind energy instead of the average Finnish electricity mix reduced the environmental impacts by 34–81%. Enhancement in the energy efficiency of bioreactor mixing processes and reduction in cultivation time also effectively improved the environmental performance (4–47% reduction of impacts). In comparison with other novel foods, the environmental impacts of the PCC products studied were mostly comparable to those of microalgae products but higher than those of microbial protein products produced by autotrophic hydrogen-oxidizing bacteria. Assayed fresh PCC products were similar or close to GWP of conventionally grown food products and, with technological advancements, can be highly competitive.
Original languageEnglish
Article number151990
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 11831 Plant biology
  • Attributional LCA
  • Cellular agriculture
  • Environmental impact
  • Food production
  • Novel food
  • Plant cell culture (PCC)
  • Sustainability

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