Further technical options that support running different cultivation modes include the ability to feed the bioreactor culture, to change medium while the cells are retained, to measure the biomass online or simply to pump in and out the bioreactor. While batch and fed-batch cultivation are commonly used to optimize growth in microbial applications, continuous culture and perfusion modes work out well in animal and human cell culture, for example.
Going great—scaling up with bioreactorsIndustrial-scale bioprocesses require the use of bioreactors. The challenge is to scale up the production process from small-scale development to bench scale, and then to pilot and production scales. Being able to optimize the process for product formation, quality, and yield at a small scale and then scale it up with minimal adjustments to production scale can save a great deal of time and money.
Fully functional, stirred-tank bioreactors are even available for working volumes of less than 100 mL, perfect for early bioprocess development. Bioreactors of increasing volume provide reliable scalability if the vessels have similar geometries, heat and mass transfer capabilities, monitoring and control possibilities, and documentation tools. This streamlines the process development laboratory work, and eases the production of regulatory conformance documentation throughout the whole process.
Comprehensive softwareThe advantages of bioreactor processes over shake flask cultivations for complex bioprocesses are all the more convincing when bioprocess management software is applied. Special software solutions can interconnect multiple laboratory devices and help to automate the process. They can apply Design of Experiment (DoE) and process modeling, can support comprehensive data analysis, and can connect to historians and central data storage tools. Process Analytical Technology (PAT) approaches and Quality by Design (QbD) are facilitated.
Shake flasks vs bioreactors?No, there is no competition. It’s a question of objectives—each system has its own applications and advantages.
Bioreactors provide users with almost unlimited flexibility, functionality, and freedom of action, but cost much more and need well-educated operators. Shake flasks, however, also have a place for simple screening and media development.
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