Bioreactors for Mammalian Cell Culture: Choosing the Right System

Bioreactors are containers where cells consume raw materials to create products like pharmaceuticals and medical research reagents. Cells grown in these vessels include microorganisms, plant cells, and mammalian cells. Read on to learn about the six types of bioreactors used by lab technicians and bio process specialists.

Hollow Fiber Bioreactors

Hollow Fiber Bioreactors are versatile tools extensively employed in cell culture for a range of applications. These specialized systems feature a network of semi-permeable hollow fibers, providing a unique environment for cell growth and maintenance. Hollow Fiber Bioreactors offer several advantages, including high cell density culture, efficient nutrient exchange, and enhanced oxygenation.

They are commonly utilized in the production of therapeutic proteins, antibodies, and viral vectors, facilitating large-scale production while minimizing the footprint. Additionally, these bioreactors find utility in stem cell research, tissue engineering, and drug discovery, enabling the expansion and differentiation of various cell types.

Continuous Stirred Tank Bioreactors

These are the most widely used bioreactors. They facilitate bioprocess reaction by using chemostatic principles to manage flow rate and sparger devices to create bubbles. They are ideal for growing living cells like a mammalian cell culture especially at high volumes.

Tangential Flow Filtration Bioreactors

Tangential Flow Filtration (TFF) Bioreactors enable efficient removal of impurities, such as media components, debris, and metabolic waste, while retaining the desired cells and proteins. This continuous filtration process minimizes the need for multiple centrifugation steps, reducing cell stress and enhancing cell viability.

TFF Bioreactors find extensive application in the production of recombinant proteins, monoclonal antibodies, and viral vectors, enabling streamlined and high-yield bioprocessing. Furthermore, these bioreactors offer flexibility in terms of scalability, making them suitable for both small-scale research and large-scale industrial production. The integration of Tangential Flow Filtration into cell culture systems has revolutionized downstream processing, improved productivity, and accelerated the development of biopharmaceuticals.

Wave Bag Bioreactor

Wave Bag Bioreactors have become a prominent choice in cell culture due to their unique design and advantages. These bioreactors utilize flexible bags made of single-use, sterile materials, creating a closed system for cell cultivation. The Wave Bag Bioreactor employs a rocking motion, causing gentle waves to propagate through the culture medium, mimicking natural mixing and oxygenation processes. This dynamic motion promotes nutrient distribution, reduces shear stress on cells, and enhances mass transfer, resulting in improved cell growth and productivity. These bioreactors are widely employed in the production of vaccines, antibodies, and cell-based therapies, offering cost-effectiveness, ease of use, and reliable performance.

Bubble Column Bioreactors

Bubble column bioreactors are generally cylindrical in shape. Perforated plates are placed at the base of the vessels to facilitate adequate gaseous exchanges. These bioreactors are commonly used to culture sensitive organisms such as mammalian cells and plant cells.

Packed Bed Bioreactors

As their name suggests, these bioreactors contain a packed bed of particles and biocatalysts. This promotes a steady stream of nutrients and oxygen within the vessel. Furthermore, packed bed bioreactors can accommodate high-density cell cultures.

Final Thoughts

As a scientist, it’s important to know your options for your mammalian cell culture needs and services. For more information, contact us today or call our knowledgeable staff (763-786-0302).