What are Bioreactors?
A bioreactor is a vessel in which raw materials are converted to product by the action of living organisms. A bioreactor provides the optimal environment for cells and microorganisms to grow by maintaining pH, temperature, gas, and nutrient supply.
What is the Difference Between a Bioreactor and Fermentor?
The word ‘Bioreactor’ is often used as a blanket term. However, when the process cultivates microorganisms (fungi, yeast or bacteria) the term fermentor should be applied. Such processes essentially involve fermentations, where metabolic processes produce chemical transformations in organic substrates through the action of enzymes. Conversely, when the process cultivates mammalian, plant or stem cells then the term bioreactor should be used.
Bioreactor Uses and Applications
Bioreactors are used for a wide range of applications across many industries:
For example, within the food industry fermenters are used to produce fermented food products such as beer, kombucha, yoghurt and cheese.
Types of Bioreactors
There are various types of bioreactors including single-use, stirred-tank, air lift, rocker, and fixed-bed. A single-use bioreactor, or disposable bioreactor, is a bioreactor with a disposable bag instead of a culture vessel. Stirred-tank bioreactors are the most common type of bioreactor and employ continuous mechanical mixing within the vessel. Air lift bioreactors employ the use of gas bubbles rather than mechanical mixing. Rocker bioreactors rely on an even rocking motion to mix the contents of the bioreactor. Fixed-bed bioreactors consist of a column packed with porous material in which the cells are immobilized.
Stirred-tank bioreactors are the most common type of bioreactors because they provide effective mixing, enable easy scale-up and are adaptable in terms of mixing style.
Figure 1. Stirred- tank bioreactor design
Bioreactors typically comprise of a bioprocess control tower which, via the software, controls all aspects of the bioprocess include the peristaltic pumps, gas supply, temperature and other vessel feeds. The vessel is commonly borosilicate glass or stainless steel and is surrounded by a heating jacket to maintain vessel temperature. The headplate which hermetically seals the vessel features a number of ports through which probes and sensors may be inserted into the vessel. The impeller or mixer also passes through the headplate and is driven by the motor to produce the required mixing speed.
Bioreactors from Froilabo
Froilabo have a range of stirred-tank bioreactors to suit your bioprocessing needs. Our benchtop bioreactors are suitable for microbial fermentation (fungi, yeast, or bacteria) and cell cultivation (mammalian or plant cells) processes. With 3 volumes available, process scaling is made simple. The Froilabo bioreactors feature a novel magnetic mixer and non-welded lid to ensure high grade aseptic conditions.
Our magnetic mixer design enables numerous customisation options for the rotor layout. This means impeller placements, amount and type can be adjusted to best suit the application. The impellers may be welded or detachable as required. Please speak to one of our friendly team to discuss your bioprocessing needs.
Explore Froilabo’s fully automated laboratory scale bioreactor range today. If you are interested in our biotechnology products or have any questions, please contact us and a member of our team will be delighted to help.
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