Abstract Plant cells ( Nicotiana tabacum) were genetically modified to produce an heterologous protein, the acidic invertase from carrot, and invertase production from suspension tobacco cells was investigated. Suspension cultures were grown in shake flasks and stirred bioreactor. Total invertase activity was growth related. A 75 d continuous culture in 10 l bioreactor was performed. Our study demonstrates the high potential of plant cell cultures for long term production of heterologous protein.