Hybridoma cell growth and monoclonal antibody production in dialyzed continuous suspension culture were investigated using a 1.5-L Celligen bioreactor. Medium supplemented with 1.5% fetal bovine serum was fed directly into the reactor at a dilution rate of 0.45 d−1. Dailysis tubing with a molecular weight cut-off (MWCO) of 1000 was coiled inside the bioreactor. Fresh medium containing no serum or serum substitues passed through the dialysis tubing at flow rates of 2 to 5 L/d. The objective was to remove low molecular weight inhibitors, such as lactic acid and ammonia, by diffusion through the tubing, while continuoulsy replenishing essential nutrients by the same mechanism. Due to the low MWCO of the dialysis tubing high molecular weight components such as growth factors and antibody were not removed by the dialyzing stream. In the batch start-up phase, the monoclonal antibody (MAb) titer was almost 3 times that achieved in typical batch cultures (i.e., 170 to 180 mg/L). During dialyzed continuous operation, a substantial increase (up to 40%) in cell density, monoclonal antibody (MAb) titer, and reactor MAb productivity was observed, as compared with a conventional continuous suspension culture. The cell viability and the specific MAb productivity remained practically constant at different dialysis rates. This finding suggests that the steady state growth and death rate in continuous suspension hybridoma cultures are not direct functions of the nutrient or inhibitor concentrations.
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