TAP Biosystems recently announced the expansion of its bioprocessing portfolio with a new system offering increased volumes and compatibility with microbial fermentation. The ambr250 automated bioreactor has three components: ambr250 single-use fully disposable 250 mL bioreactors, automated ambr250 workstation, and ambr250 software (Figure 1).
The platform, which builds on the ambr micro bioreactor technology, was developed with the following improvements in mind: increased fermentation volumes, pumped liquid delivery for continuous feeds and automated individual bioreactor temperature, and impeller control. These features allow a more realistic, frequent feeding regime, as well as larger volumes to be sampled to perform a wider range of analytical tests.
This, combined with the parallel control of culture conditions and feeds, provides a true scale-down bioreactor model which will support Quality by Design (QbD).
The workstation can be configured for independent parallel control of 12 or 24 single-use 250 mL bioreactors and includes liquid-handling automation to provide culture set-up and inoculation, automated addition of feeds and alkali, and culture sampling.
Additionally, the workstation controls the stir speed, gas supply, and temperature and because it integrates laminar flow enables automated aseptic feed additions and sampling.
The ambr250 includes single-use, fully disposable bioreactors (100–250 mL working volume), each with independent temperature and impeller control. The bioreactors are supplied sterile and individually wrapped. They have been designed to be installed with only three quick steps so that setting up 24 bioreactors in the workstation manifold takes less than 30 minutes.
The bioreactors have a cap for automated sampling and incorporate integrated sensors for DO and pH, which provide individual closed loop control of these parameters. The microbial bioreactors have a dual 20 mm Rushton impeller, automated pH regulation through control of CO2, and liquid alkali addition.
A cascade approach is possible for DO control for fermentation and through control of O2 and N2/air in the mammalian configuration. Since there is no need to clean or sterilize the bioreactor between runs, there is a fast turnaround between experiments, thus saving time and providing a high-throughput system.
The ambr250 system is supported by proprietary software, which includes modules for defining and running experiments and for viewing the resulting data. In the definition module, users can program the workstation to perform actions such as add feeds and induce their cells at specific time points. The definition module is intuitive to use for bioprocess scientists as it lists all the steps that can occur in any type of fermentation so researchers simply pick the parameters they need to use.
In the run module, scientists can start their fermentation runs with one button press and because the software is very flexible, they can edit their process parameters if they need to, while the runs are in progress. For example, with E. coli fermentation, users can change an exponential feed to a linear one without interrupting the run. In the view module, researchers can view their data and also easily export it into Excel for further analysis and production of graphical or tabular results.