Rotary lobe pumps are commonly used in the biotechnology industry for a variety of purposes. Shear damage to animal cells within the rotary lobe pump can adversely affect the product yield or purity during, for example, cell concentration via cross-flow filtration. In this research, CHO cells grown in 20-L bioreactors were fed to a rotary lobe pump in both single pass and recycle experiments were conducted at different RPMs and “slip” conditions. The results indicate that the slip flow rate more severely impacts the viability of the CHO cells than the pump RPM. A novel mathematical modeling approach is presented that predicts shear rates in all of the positive displacement pump's slip regions, and then predicts cell death vs. operating conditions. This model accounts for the complex flow situation that results from changes to RPM, backpressure and pump geometry (i.e., clearances). © 2010 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 2010
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