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CFD-aided optimization of a laboratory-scale centrifugation for a shear-sensitive insect cell line

Molina-Miras, A., Sánchez-Mirón, A., García-Camacho, F., Molina-Grima, E.
Food and bioproducts processing 2018 v.107 pp. 113-120
cell lines, centrifugation, containers, erythrocytes, insects, microalgae, shear stress
A study has been conducted to assess cell damage during centrifugation and to optimize this operation for the insect cell line Se301. Experiments were carried out in a discontinuous centrifuge using Falcon tubes of different sizes as containers. The cells were easily recovered from the cell suspension and the time required for complete sedimentation was found to be independent of tube size or design. Cell damage was observed once the cells were sedimented, therefore this process depends on both the residence time of the cells in the pellet and on the acceleration applied. The sensitivity of the cells to this operation was higher than for other naked microalgae or for very sensitive red blood cells. Indeed, excessive treatment produced cell damage that reduced the productivity of subsequent cultures. CFD simulations were carried out in 2D and a good agreement was found between the CFD and experimental values in terms of the time required for full sedimentation. In addition, this technique allowed the calculation of shear stress, a key variable in the study of cell sensitivity to flow.