Miniaturized bioreactors for suspension cultures of animal cells, such as Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells, could improve bioprocess development through the ability to cheaply explore a wide range of bioprocess operating conditions. A miniaturized pressure-cycled bioreactor for animal cell cultures, described previously (Diao et al., 2008), was tested with a suspension CHO cell line producing commercially relevant quantities of human IgG. Results from the suspended CHO cell line showed that the cell growth was comparable to conventional flask controls and the target protein production was enhanced in the minibioreactor, which may be due to the relatively high oxygen transfer rate and the moderate shear stress, measured and simulated previously. Microcarrier culture using an anchorage-dependent CHO cell line and Cytodex 3 also showed a similar result: comparable growth and enhanced production of a model protein (secreted alkaline phosphatase or SEAP). Various fed-batch schemes were applied to the CHO cells producing human IgG, yielding cell numbers (1.1 × 107/mL) at day 8 and titers of human IgG (2.3 g/L) at day 14 that are typical industrial values for CHO cell fed-batch cultures. The alteration of the volumetric oxygen transfer coefficient is a key parameter for viability of the CHO cell line producing human IgG. We conclude that the minibioreactor can provide favorable cell culture environments; oxygen transfer coefficient and mixing time can be altered to mimic values in a larger scale system allowing for potential prediction of response during scale-up. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2012;109: 137–145. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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