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TU Berlin

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Innovative bioreactors

Cultivation of human and animal cells plays a central role both in medicine and biotechnology. In the fields of Tissue Engineering and generation of highly profitable therapeutics, cultivation of mammalian cells in production scale tissue-like compounds is gaining more importance.

Three reactor modules in the climate chamber with nutrient supply unit
Three reactor modules in the climate chamber with nutrient supply unit

Transferring approved reactor concepts from cultivating single cell organisms to mammalian cells has not always been successful for several reasons. Bacteria and yeasts grow as single cells in suspension, whereas a majority of mammalian cells needs a surface and a structured cellular network to grow (adherent growth). Due to the differing cellular morphology, mammalian cells show a much higher sensibility to mechanical stress occurring in conventionally stirred cultivation systems. As some mammalian cells require a well defined micro environment in order to sustain functionality, upscaling is not achieved by simple enlargement of the reactor volume. To approach this challenge we arranged a strong network of scientists of different disciplines, focusing on the development of a suitable bioreactor system for mammalian cells (V. Goralczyk). The basic growth surface is a ceramic foam with highly interconnected pores, which enable the development of a suitable micro milieu and can be populated by different cell types. The foam is perfused in a custom designed chamber supporting easy handling. Therefore the system meets the needs for a bioreactor encouraging three-dimensional cellular growth.

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