Evaluation of criteria for bioreactor comparison and operation standardization for mammalian cell culture


  • Dedicated to Professor Wei-Shou Hu on the occasion of his 60th birthday.

Correspondence: Prof. Ralf Pörtner (poertner@tuhh.de), Denickestrasse 15, Hamburg, 21073, Germany.

Additional correspondence: Prof. An-Ping Zeng, (aze@tuhh.de), Denickestrasse 15, Hamburg, 21073, Germany.


Development of bioprocesses with mammalian cell culture deals with different bioreactor types and scales. The bioreactors might be intended for generation of cell inoculum and production, research, process development, validation, or transfer purposes. During these activities, not only the difficulty of up and downscaling might lead to failure of consistency in cell growth, but also the use of different bioreactor geometries and operation conditions. In such cases, criteria for bioreactor design and process transfer should be carefully evaluated in order to select appropriate cultivation parameters.

In this work, power input, mixing time, impeller tip speed, and Reynolds number have been compared systematically for the cultivation of the human cell line AGE1.HN within three partner laboratories using five different bioreactor systems. Proper operation ranges for the bioreactors were identified using the maximal cell-specific growth rate (μmax) as indicator. Common optimum values for process transfer criteria were found in these geometrically different bioreactors, in which deviations of μmax between cultivation systems can be importantly reduced. The data obtained in this work are used for process standardization and comparability of results obtained in different bioreactor systems, i.e. to guarantee lab-to-lab consistency for systems biology approaches using mammalian cells.