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Noninvasive Cell Biomass Sensor for Multiplexed On-Line Fermentation Monitoring

CONCORD, Calif., Sept. 3, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- BugLab LLC,1 a US-based manufacturer of optical sensors for bioprocess monitoring, has just released the miniBE, the first noninvasive on-line sensor capable of accurately measuring cell biomass over the full range of process conditions typically encountered during microbial fermentations in small vessels and single use fermenters.  

According to Martin Debreczeny, Co-Founder of BugLab, "This product fulfills a long-standing need for combining a very wide linear range of sensitivity to cell biomass while discriminating against the effects of bubbles in a noninvasive multi-vessel on-line monitoring format." 

Traditional on-line Optical Density (OD) probes provide linear response over about one order of magnitude biomass range, whereas fermentations commonly span more than 3 orders of magnitude biomass range.  Further, accurate online monitoring of cell biomass requires immunity to a range of process conditions, such as varying rates of gassing and agitation.  This is a known weakness of traditional on-line OD sensors, which are susceptible to error in the presence of bubbles. 

The patented miniBE optical sensor2 provides a linear range of cell biomass from <0.1 to >100 g/L dry cell weight (roughly equivalent to <0.3 to >300 OD at 600 nm) while maintaining strong immunity to changes in process variables such as agitation and gassing rate.  The versatile space saving format is compatible with a diverse array of vessel types, with media volumes as low as 10 ml, and does not require the use of a headplate port.  The instrument comes pre-calibrated for different microbial cell biomass types. 

In addition to being offered as a stand-alone device by BugLab, the miniBE sensor technology has also been pre-integrated into Sartorius Stedim Biotech's ambr® 15 fermentation, ambr® 250 modular and ambr® 250 high throughput single-use bioreactor systems for microbial applications.3  The technology has undergone extensive field testing that has demonstrated the benefit of the integrated biomass measurement for a wide range of microbial cultures across diverse process conditions.4 

  1. BugLab has been providing innovations in optical biomass monitoring in the bioprocess industry since 2003.  More information at
  2. US Patents 8,405,033; 9,752,974; 10,054,532; 10,408,730
  3. Sartorius Stedim Biotech is a leading international partner of the biopharmaceutical industry. More information at
  4. "Development of online biomass measurement capability in the ambr® platform for microbial applications", poster presented at SIMB Annual Meeting, August 2018

Peter Chiang
BugLab LLC
+1 925-208-1952

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Last Updated: 03-Sep-2019