In a bioreactor, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as metabolic by-products of microbial growth and production. Real-time monitoring of these emitted volatile metabolites in the off-gas of a bioreactor with PTR-MS allows gauging the activity of the micro-organisms for quality assurance and process control. In E. coli fermentations we observe up to 70 VOCs with notable concentrations and distinct variations over time - prominent examples are shown in the figure.
Process Monitoring – PTR-MS Setup
IONICON has conducted extensive research projects in the frame of the Austrian Center for industrial Biotechnology (ACIB), where, together with leading companies in the biotech industry, the potential of on-line process monitoring has been assessed.
Of central importance in this context is a fast and quantitative transfer of the sample to the PTR-MS. IONICON has developed an optimized coupling system for biotech applications, see figure, which provides dilution of the sample gas, safety measures, multiplexing and automated calibration for quality assurance. The whole system, consisting of the IONICON PTR-MS and the purpose-built coupling system, proved to be very robust. It has been up and running at different industrial test sites for several years. As part of our customized PTR-MS solutions, IONICON provides an integrated PTR-MS bio system, optimized for the biotech industry.