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Keywords:

  • scale-up;
  • model system;
  • optimization;
  • medium limitation;
  • oxygen limitation;
  • hollow-fiber bioreactor

Abstract

Our previous attempt to model the stationary phase of production-scale hollow-fiber bioreactors using a scaled-down micro hollow-fiber bioreactor resulted in a predicted antibody production rate that was three- to fourfold lower than the actual value (Gramer and Poeschl, 2000). Medium limitations were suspected as the reason for the discrepancy. In this study, various increases in medium feed rate were implemented in the micro bioreactor by increasing the diameter of the silicone tubing that houses the hollow fibers. Because larger diameter tubing may induce oxygen limitations, we also explored the effect of medium recirculation to enhance oxygenation. Antibody production in the micro bioreactor increased both as a result of increased medium supply and due to medium recirculation. However, these parameters increased antibody production through two independent mechanisms. The increased medium supply resulted in a higher cell-specific antibody production rate, but not a higher viable cell density. Medium circulation resulted in the support of a higher viable cell density, but had little effect on the cell-specific secretion rate. The two mechanisms of enhanced antibody production were additive, demonstrating that simultaneous parameters can limit antibody production by this cell line in a hollow-fiber system. When the medium feed and circulation rates were increased to a volumetrically proportional scale, scale-up predictions from the micro bioreactor matched the actual data from the production-scale system to within 15%. These data demonstrate the usefulness of the micro bioreactor for characterizing cell growth and limiting mechanisms at high cell densities. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Biotechnol Bioeng 79: 277–283, 2002.