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Design and validation of a parallelized micro-photobioreactor enabling phototrophic bioprocess development at elevated throughput

Microalgae offer great potential for the industrial production of numerous compounds, but most of the currently available processes fail on economic aspects. Due to the lack of appropriate microcultivation systems, especially screening and early stage laboratory process characterization limit throughput in process development. Consequently, a demand for high throughput photobioreme prototype systems emerged. However, compactors has recently been identified upon which soared to microbial microbioreactors, the systems so far introduced suffer from at least one of several drawbacks, that is, inhomogeneous conditions, poor mixing or excessive evaporation. In this context, a microtiter plate based micro-photobioreactor was developed enabling 48-fold parallelized cultivation. Strict control of the process conditions enabled a high comparability between the distinct wells of one plate (±5% fluctuation in biomass formation). The small scale, resulting in a beneficial surface to volume ratio, as well as the fast mixing due to rigorous orbital shaking, ensured an excellent light supply of the cultures. Moreover, non-invasive online biomass quantification was implemented via a scattered light analyzer that is capable of biomass measurements during continuous illumination of the cultures. The system was shown to be especially qualified for parallelized laboratory screening applications like for instance media optimization. Easy automation via integration into a liquid handling platform is given by design. Thereby, the presented micro-photobioreactor system significantly contributes to improving the time efficiency during the development of phototrophic bioprocesses.

Authors: Morschett, Holger; Schiprowski, Danny; Mueller, Carsten; Mertens, Kolja; Felden, Pamela; Meyer, Joerg; Wiechert, Wolfgang; Oldiges, Marco

Journal: Biotechnology and Bioengineering (2016);

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