Eng Life Sci. 2023 Aug 23;23(9):e2300204. doi: 10.1002/elsc.202300204. eCollection 2023 Sep.
In the field of bioprocess development miniaturization, parallelization and flexibility play a key role reducing costs and time. To precisely meet these requirements, additive manufacturing (3D-printing) is an ideal technology. 3D-printing enables rapid prototyping and cost-effective fabrication of individually designed devices with complex geometries on demand. For successful bioprocess development, monitoring of process-relevant parameters, such as pH, dissolved oxygen (DO), and biomass, is crucial. Online monitoring is preferred as offline sampling is time-consuming and leads to loss of information. In this study, 3D-printed cultivation vessels with optical prisms are evaluated for the use in upstream processes of different industrially relevant microorganisms and cell lines. It was shown, that the 3D-printed optically modified well (OMW) is of benefit for a wide range of biotechnologically relevant microorganisms and even for mammalian suspension cells. Evaluation tests with Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells were performed, providing highly reproducible results. Growth behavior of OMW cultures was comparable to behavior of shake flask (SF) cultivations and the signal to noise ratio in online biomass measurement was shown to be reduced up to 95.8% by using the OMW. Especially the cultivation phases with low turbidity respective optical densities below 1.0 rel.AU could be monitored accurately for the first time. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that the 3D-printed optics are transferable to different well geometries and sizes, enabling efficient biomass monitoring for individual requirements with tailor-made 3D-printed cultivation vessels in small scale.