Improving Cell Culture Bioreactor Performance for Sensitive Cell Lines by Dynamic Membrane Aeration (DMA)
Although the importance of animal cell culture for the industrial (large scale) production of pharmaceutical products is continuously increasing, the sensibility of the cells towards their cultivation environment is still a challenging issue. In comparison to microbial cultures, cell cultures which are not protected by a cell wall are much more sensitive to shear stress and foam formation. Reactor design as well as the selection of “robust” cell lines is particularly important for these circumstances. Nevertheless, even “sensitive” cell lines are selected for certain pharmaceutical processes due to various reasons. These sensitive cell lines have even higher requirements regarding their cultivation environment. Important characteristics for the corresponding reactor design are a high (volumetric) gas mass transfer coefficient, low volumetric power input, low shear stress, low susceptibility to bio-fouling, the ability to cultivate sticky cells and sufficient mixing properties. Membrane aeration has been a long-known possibility to meet some of these requirements, but has not often been applied in recent years. The reasons lie mainly in low gas mass transfer rates, a limited installable volume-specific membrane surface area, restrictions in scalability and problems with membrane fouling. The dynamic membrane aeration bioreactor aeration is a simple concept for bubble-free oxygen supply of such sensitive cultures. It overcomes limitations and draw-backs of previous systems.