Myrtillocactus tissue cultures are grown from the epicotyl of young plantlets. With an appropriate growing medium it is possible, after transfer of fragments of these cultures to a liquid environment, to obtain dissociation and proliferation of cells. The production of betalaic pigments is induced in solid surroundings by adjustement of the growing medium composition and can be maintained in a liquid environment. The multiplication of pigmented cells in suspension may thus be obtained. The conversion of Asparagus cell suspensions from the heterotrophic state (use of lactose as source of carbon) to the autotrophic state (carbon supplied by CO/sub 2/) is obtained by a gradual reduction in the sugar concentration of the medium combined with a rise in the CO/sub 2/ content of the gas mixture atmosphere injected into the cultivator. The passage to the autotrophic state of a Myrtillocactus suspension would enable the production conditions of a metabolite (Betalaine) to be studied by micro-algae culture techniques.