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Keywords:

  • culture pH;
  • metabolism;
  • bioreactor;
  • serum-free;
  • PER.C6® cell culture;
  • adenovirus production

Abstract

PER.C6® cell growth, metabolism, and adenovirus production were studied in head-to-head comparisons in stirred bioreactors under different pH conditions. Cell growth rate was found to be similar in the pH range of 7.1–7.6, while a long lag phase and a slower growth rate were observed at pH 6.8. The specific consumption rates of glucose and glutamine decreased rapidly over time during batch cell growth, as did the specific lactate and ammonium production rates. Cell metabolism in both infected and uninfected cultures was very sensitive to culture pH, resulting in dramatic differences in glucose/glutamine consumption and lactate/ammonium production under different pH conditions. It appeared that glucose metabolism was suppressed at low pH but the efficiency of energy production from glucose was enhanced. Adenovirus infection resulted in profound changes in cell growth and metabolism. Cell growth was largely arrested under all pH conditions, while glucose consumption and lactate production were elevated post virus infection. Virus infection induced a reduction in glutamine consumption at low pH but an increase at high pH. The optimal pH for adenovirus production was found to be 7.3 under the experimental conditions used in the study. Deviations from this optimum resulted in significant reductions of virus productivity. The results indicate that culture pH is a very critical process parameter in PER.C6® cell culture and adenovirus production. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Biotechnol Bioeng 80: 569–579, 2002.