Application note

Application note: Gas analysis mass spectrometer applications in fermentation and cell culture process

The use of online process analytical technology (PAT) has become a high-profile endeavour in the biotechnology industry. Thermo ScientificTM process mass spectrometers as PAT tools have been in use since the early 1980s.

In any fermentation process it is essential to monitor the state of the culture, since its health determines the conversion rate of nutrients, the formation of unwanted by-products and, in the worst case, the onset of poisoning. Analysis of the respiratory gases being fed into and removed from the fermentor is an ideal means of characterising the fermentation.

Many fermentations are characterised by small changes in oxygen and carbon dioxide concentrations at critical phases of the fermentation, for example, during the lag phase when the microorganisms exist in equilibrium with the nutrients. It is vital that the method used for measuring off-gas is capable of fast, precise analysis. It is equally important that precise data is acquired; otherwise, small changes in concentration will be lost. Magnetic sector mass spectrometers have demonstrated the highest levels of precision for fermentation off-gas analysis and have been successfully monitoring fermentor off-gas at many of the world’s leading biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies for numerous years.