Refining bioreactor design using autoclavable glass bonding


Selecting the right design of bioreactors is crucial for guaranteeing the reproducibility of bioprocesses. Up to now, conventionally designed bioreactors consist typically of melted or clamped joints. Since melting of borosilicate glass leads to large deformed areas along the joint, the desired geometric reproducibility is not ensured. Moreover, clamping complicates and greatly restricts the bioreactor design. Bonding, however, is advantageous in that it does not alter the material joined and it is easy to use. Furthermore, it has been recently shown that specially developed glass bonding techniques withstand multiple autoclaving cycles. The current research investigated practice-relevant parameters influencing the lifespan of epoxy-or (urethane) acrylate-bonded glass bioreactors. Hereby, the influence of cleaning and sensitivity to fermentation compounds (ethanol and acetic acid) was quantified using glass-glass and glass-stainless steel specimens. Whereas cleaning did not adversely affect the durability of glass bonds, high concentrations of the fermentation compounds ethanol and acetic acid resulted in accelerated corrosion and subsequent bond failure. Moreover, no effect of eight different epoxy and (urethane) acrylate adhesives was observed on selected model organisms Escherichia coli K12 and Hansenula polymorpha wild type. Another objective of this study was to refine the design of two small-scale bioreactors (ca. 250 mL) by replacing clamps and melted joints by adhesive joints. It was found that the bonded bioreactors yielded a higher geometric reproducibility than that of conventional melted or clamped ones. In conclusion, bonded glass joints greatly enhance the geometric reproducibility of bioreactors and, in turn, the reproducibility of bioprocesses. As glass bonding is easy to handle, it opens up new opportunities to design bioreactors that had been previously too expensive and complicated.

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Bähr, C. , Stammen, E. , Zahlten, S. , Böhm, S. , Dilger, K. and Büchs, J. (2011) Refining bioreactor design using autoclavable glass bonding. Advances in Bioscience and Biotechnology, 2, 233-243. doi: 10.4236/abb.2011.24034.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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