In the last 10 years, new assignments and the special demands of mammalian cells to the culture conditions caused the development of complex small scale fermentation setups. The use of continuous fermentation and cell retention devices requires appropriate process control systems. An arrangement for control and data-acquisition of complex laboratory-scale bioreactors is presented. The fundamental idea was the usage of a standard personal computer, which is connected to pumps, valves and sensors via ADA-transformation. The possibility of free programming allowed the development of user-oriented software, especially designed for the far-reaching requirements of a university laboratory in the field of animal cell culture. Control of aeration, pumps, data-acquisition and data-storage are combined within one program, which allows the automation of standard operations like measurement of kLa- or OTR-values. Pump control algorithms for all common fermentation strategies (batch, fed batch, chemostat, perfusion) are included and can be selected any time during cultivation. Oxygen partial pressure and pH are controlled via direct digital control (ddc), providing simple adaption of control parameters and set points to current fermentation conditions.
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