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Optimizing Your Benchscale Fermentation Process

An advanced new benchtop fermentor and cell culture bioreactor system has been developed, which for the first time enables you to optimize process control by integrating data from up to 11 external devices*. This means that data from your scales, gas analyzers, supplementary pumps, cell mass sensors, and so on, can be directly added and cascaded with existing control loops. You can then calibrate those devices through the fermentors advanced touchscreen interface, as well as set alarms based on their data, and view the entire process in trend graphs. In the past, only large-scale fermentors or bioreactors with advanced control systems were capable of what can now be achieved on the benchscale.

The BioFlo 310 from New Brunswick Scientific is designed for high-yield production of a wide range of microbial organisms as well as mammalian, insect, and plant cells. Its advanced controller can regulate up to 32 parameters per vessel, in one to four fermentors simultaneously more than 120 process parameters total for all four vessels. Therefore, it is ideally suited for research and process development laboratories performing media formulation, screening, as well as optimization studies, and for use as a production-scale system.


Automating glucose addition based on real-time data from your exhaust gas analyzer
Automating changes to your gas supplementation strategy using pH, DO, turbidity, and redox readings or those from an off-gas or dissolved-gas analysis.

The BioFlo 310 can handle it all. There are seven analog input and seven analog output ports for adding ancillary devices such as an optical density probe, gas analyzer, cell mass sensor, multiple thermal mass flow contr ollers, and supplemental pumps. An optional eight-port serial connection enables connecting scales or other external devices with serial connections. USB ports enable exporting process data to a PC, as well as importing future firmware and software upgrades.

The sample screens included here provide a glimpse into the advanced processing capabilities of the BioFlo 310.

The main screen is your command central a single location to conveniently see setpoints and current values for all 32 process loops, as well as view as many as 10 loops simultaneously without having to scroll up or down. The screen displays each loop name, process value (PV), setpoint, output percent, control mode, unit of measurement, and whether the loop is in cascade mode. In this example, in addition to standard loops for agitation, temperature, pH, and DO, the bioreactor was built with five optional thermal mass flow controllers (TMFC). Using multiple TMFCs gives users the ability to precisely view and regulate the exact amount of each gas being added to the reactor in standard liters per minute (SLPM). Therefore, loops shown for AirFlo, O2Flo, N2Flo, and CO2Flo are for the four sparge gasses. The fifth TMFC is used for gas overlay, shown in OvlFlo loop, and OvlMix loop indicates gas mixing for the gas overlay.

Creating a loop to integrate control of your external device to the BioFlo 310 is exceptionally easy. Select the loop type depending on the external device, and select whether it is an input and/or output signal. You have the flexibility to create the loop name and unit of measurement, as well as set PID values along with low and high limits. A REMOVE button allows you to easily remove the loop as your requirements change.

Trend graphs can be custom-tailored to show up to eight loops of your choice in the colors you designate and in time intervals you select. View all eight loops on the summary screen (shown) or select a single loop. Enlarge or reduce magnification with the zoom feature; or export the data to your PC. In this example, an external turbidity sensor has been plugged into the fermentor, and its data is being tracked and displayed along with the temperature, agitation, DO, and pH.

The cascade screen lets you easily establish interactive control strategies based on changes in one or more parameters. In this example, readings from an external turbidity probe are being used to automate changes to airflow and oxygen.

The CGMP-compliant and validatable BioFlo 310 is just one of a series of fully scalable fermentors and bioreactors offered in 1 to 3,000-L capacities. New Brunswick Scientific also offers a wide variety of contract laboratory services and training packages, as well as related equipment ranging from automated cell counting systems to CO2 incubators, shakers, media preparation equipment, and ULT freezers.

* Eleven external devices are controllable when the BioFlo 310 is run as a standalone fermentor or bioreactor. That number is reduced when controlling multiple vessels.

Rajul Vyas is product manager New Brunswick Scientific, PO Box 4005, Edison, NJ 08818-4005; 1-800-668-0965;,



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