Microfluidic reactor for continuous cultivation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae



A diffusion-based microreactor system operated with a reaction volume of 8 μL is presented and characterized to intensify the process understanding in microscale cultivations. Its potential as screening tool for biological processes is evaluated. The advantage of the designed microbioreactor is the use for the continuous cultivation mode by integrating online measurement technique for dissolved oxygen (DO) and optical density (OD). A further advantage is the broaden application for biological systems. The bioreactor geometry was chosen to achieve homogeneous flow during continuous process operation. The device consisted of a microstructured top layer made of poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS), which was designed and fabricated using UV-depth and soft lithography assembled with a glass bottom. CFD simulation data used for geometry design were verified via microparticle-image-velocimetry (μPIV). In the used microreactor geometry no concentration gradients occurred along the entire reaction volume because of rapid diffusive mixing, the homogeneous medium flow inside the growth chamber of the microreactor could be realized. Undesirable bubble formation before and during operation was reduced by using degassed medium as well as moistened and moderate incident air flow above the gas permeable PDMS membrane. Because of this a passive oxygen supply of the culture medium in the device is ensured by diffusion through the PDMS membrane. The oxygen supply itself was monitored online via integrated DO sensors based on a fluorescent dye complex. An adequate overall volumetric oxygen transfer coefficient KLa as well as mechanical stability of the device were accomplished for a membrane thickness of 300 μm. Experimental investigations considering measurements of OD (online) and several metabolite concentrations (offline) in a modified Verduyn medium. The used model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae DSM 2155 tended to strong reactor wall growth resembling a biofilm. © 2010 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 2010