Engineering characterisation of a single well from 24-well and 96-well microtitre plates
The detailed engineering characterisation of shaken microtitre-plate bioreactors will enhance our understanding of microbial and mammalian cell culture in these geometries and will provide guidance on the scale-up of microwell results to laboratory and pilot scale stirred bioreactors. In this work computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is employed to provide a detailed characterisation of fluid mixing, energy dissipation rate and mass transfer in single well bioreactors from deep square 24-well and 96-well microtitre plates. The numerical predictions are generally found to be in good agreement with experimental observation of the fluid motion and measured values of the key engineering parameters. The CFD simulations have shown that liquid mixing is more intensive in 96-well than in 24-well bioreactors due to a significant axial component to the fluid velocity. Liquid motion is strongly dependent on the orbital shaking amplitude which generally has a greater impact than the shaking frequency. Average power consumptions of 70–100 W m−3 and 500–1000 W m−3, and overall mass transfer coefficient, kLa, values of 0.005–0.028 s−1 and 0.056–0.10 s−1 were obtained for 24-well and 96-well bioreactors respectively at an orbital shaking amplitude of 3 mm and shaking frequencies ranging from 500 rpm to 1500 rpm. The distribution of energy dissipation rates within each bioreactor showed these to be greatest at the walls of the well for both geometries. Batch culture kinetics of E. coli DH5α showed similar maximum specific growth rates and final biomass yields in shaken 24-well and shake flask bioreactors and in stirred miniature and 20 L bioreactors at matched kLa values. The CFD simulations thus give new insights into the local and overall engineering properties of microwell bioreactor geometries and further support their use as high throughput tools for the study and optimisation of microbial and mammalian cell culture kinetics at this scale.
Journal: Biochemical Engineering Journal - Volume 40, Issue 1, 15 May 2008, Pages 138–149