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Multiple Microfermentor Battery: a Versatile Tool for Use with Automated Parallel Cultures of Microorganisms Producing Recombinant Proteins and for Optimization of Cultivation Protocols

Frachon, Emmanuel, Bondet, Vincent, Munier-Lehmann, Hélène, Bellalou, Jacques
Applied and environmental microbiology 2006 v.72 no.8 pp. 5225-5231
Escherichia coli, absorbance, aeration, biomass, computer software, dissolved oxygen, equipment, genomics, glass, microorganisms, monitoring, pH, recombinant proteins, temperature, turbidity
A multiple microfermentor battery was designed for high-throughput recombinant protein production in Escherichia coli. This novel system comprises eight aerated glass reactors with a working volume of 80 ml and a moving external optical sensor for measuring optical densities at 600 nm (OD₆₀₀) ranging from 0.05 to 100 online. Each reactor can be fitted with miniature probes to monitor temperature, dissolved oxygen (DO), and pH. Independent temperature regulation for each vessel is obtained with heating/cooling Peltier devices. Data from pH, DO, and turbidity sensors are collected on a FieldPoint (National Instruments) I/O interface and are processed and recorded by a LabVIEW program on a personal computer, which enables feedback control of the culture parameters. A high-density medium formulation was designed, which enabled us to grow E. coli to OD₆₀₀ up to 100 in batch cultures with oxygen-enriched aeration. Accordingly, the biomass and the amount of recombinant protein produced in a 70-ml culture were at least equivalent to the biomass and the amount of recombinant protein obtained in a Fernbach flask with 1 liter of conventional medium. Thus, the microfermentor battery appears to be well suited for automated parallel cultures and process optimization, such as that needed for structural genomics projects.