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Abstract

A stationary bubble-swarm has been used to aerate a mammalian cell culture bioreactor with an extremely low gas flow rate. Prolonging the residence time of the gas bubbles within the medium improved the efficiency of the gas transfer into the liquid phase and suppressed foam formation. An appropriate field of speed gradients prevented the bubbles from rising to the surface. This aeration method achieves an almost 90% transfer of oxygen supplied by the bubbles. Consequently, it is able to supply cells with oxygen even at high cell densities, while sparging with a gas flow of only 0.22 x 10(-3) -1.45 x 10(-3) vvm (30-200 ml/h). The reactor design, the oxygen transfer rates and the high efficiency of the system are presented. Two repeated batch cultures of a rat-mouse hybridoma cell line are compared with a surface-aerated spinner culture. The used cell culture medium was serum-free, either with or without BSA and did not contain surfactants or other cell protecting agents. One batch is discussed in detail for oxygen supply, amino acid consumption and specific antibody production.

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