Automation and digitalization of microbial bioprocess development

(M.Sc. Zeynep Güreli)

One of the key challenges in establishing new biotechnological production processes is the excessively long development times. Miniaturized and automated parallel bioreactor systems are an important solution. As has already been shown, using laboratory robots in a parallel approach, automated stirred tank bioreactors on a milliliter scale allow bioprocesses to be easily scaled up to liter and m3 scales.

Although important process variables such as temperature, stirrer speed, pH, dissolved oxygen concentration (DO), or optical densities (OD) can already be recorded and controlled on-line, even in miniaturized parallel reactors, on the one hand, the effort required to calibrate the sensors is still very high due to the parallelization, and on the other hand, further on-line information such as the filling volume of the parallel reactors on the milliliter scale is missing.

The objective of this research project is, therefore, to utilize a large amount of process data already available on-line from 48 stirred tank reactors automated in parallel with a pipetting robot in order to enable automated calibration procedures during the running parallel processes. In addition, previously unavailable process variables, such as individual filling volumes of the individual parallel reactor, are intended to be estimated online with the aid of software sensors.

Using the example of various microbial process developments, the new digital tools are to be made usable, and their use for even more efficient bioprocess development in the digitized bioprocess laboratory is to be validated.