Reduction of waste product excretion via nutrient control: Possible strategies for maximizing product and cell yields on serum in cultures of mammalian cells



Mammalian cells grown in culture excrete lactic acid and ammonium ions in quantities that may limit growth and reduce product synthesis. Frequent replenishment of the culture medium is often necessary to prevent waste product accumulation which could inhibit cell growth. Since increased medium replenishment results in increased usage of animal serum, the most expensive raw material, excessive production of waste products lowers the cell and product yield on serum, and hence increases production costs. Strategies for reducing the production of lactic acid and ammonium bymammalian cells via controlled addition of glucose and glutamine will be demonstrated. Mathematical relations coupling ammonium and glutamine kinetics will be described. Additionally, a method for automatic on-line estimation of the cell concentration was developed. This method involves calculating the ATP production rate from the oxygen uptake rate and the lactic acid production rate. Automatic online estimation of the cell concentration is critical if nutrient levels in large-scale mammaliancell cultures are to be accurately maintained via process control.