Matthias Funke, Andreas Buchenauer, Uwe Schnakenberg, Wilfried Mokwa, Sylvia Diederichs, Alan Mertens, Carsten Müller, Frank Kensy, Jochen Büchs:
Microfluidic biolector-microfluidic bioprocess control in microtiter plates
Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 2010, 107(3), 497-505
In industrial-scale biotechnological processes, the active control of the pH-value combined with the controlled feeding of substrate solutions (fed-batch) is the standard strategy to cultivate both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. On the contrary, for small-scale cultivations, much simpler batch experiments with no process control are performed. This lack of process control often hinders researchers to scale-up and scale-down fermentation experiments, because the microbial metabolism and thereby the growth and production kinetics drastically changes depending on the cultivation strategy applied. While small-scale batches are typically performed highly parallel and in high throughput, large-scale cultivations demand sophisticated equipment for process control which is in most cases costly and difficult to handle. Currently, there is no technical system on the market that realizes simple process control in high throughput. The novel concept of a microfermentation system described in this work combines a fiber-optic online-monitoring device for microtiter plates (MTPs)— the BioLector technology—together with microfluidic control of cultivation processes in volumes below 1 mL. In the microfluidic chip, a micropump is integrated to realize distinct substrate flow rates during fed-batch cultivation in microscale. Hence, a cultivation system with several distinct advantages could be established: (1) high information output on a microscale; (2) many experiments can be performed in parallel and be automated using MTPs; (3) this system is user-friendly and can easily be transferred to a disposable single-use system. This article elucidates this new concept and illustrates applications in fermentations of Escherichia coli under pH-controlled and fed-batch conditions in shaken MTPs.
microfluidic chip, micropump, microtiter plate, shaken bioreactor, BioLector, process control, pH-control, fed-batch