The perfusion mode of a continuous cell culture bioreactor was modified to establish a closed loop system. Eighty percent of the spent medium was re-used twice. The medium cycle bioreactor unit was operated sterile and uncomplicated without a technical retention system for the high molecular weight substances. Therefore, only 20% of the actual medium was necessary to run the recycling process. During seven days culture time in a two liter scale 5 grams of IgG 1 type monoclonal antibody was produced. During that period the cell specific productivity was constant. Renewal of proteins was omitted because the protein content in the system persisted at a high level. Therefore, self-conditioning substances of the cells were retained in the system as well as the expensive medium components (proteins with catalytic or stimulating function). Seventy to 80% of medium costs and medium quantity were saved for each medium recycling step. Only cheap metabolites that are consumed by the cells had to be supplemented. Uptake rates of glucose and amino acids were calculated to establish a suitable supplementation mixture for the recirculated medium.
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