Controlling mammalian cell metabolism in bioreactors

H. U. Wei-Shou, Weichang Zhou, Lilith F. Europa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Animal cells in culture typically convert most of the glucose they consume into lactate. The accumulation of lactate, however, is commonly cited as one of the factors that inhibit cell growth and limit the maximum cell concentration that can be achieved in culture. The specific production of lactate and the amount of glucose converted to lactate can be reduced when cells are grown in a fed-batch culture in which the residual glucose concentration is maintained at low levels. Such a fed-batch culture was used to grow and adapt hybridoma cells into a low-lactate-producing state before changing into continuous culture. The cells reached and maintained a high viable cell concentration at steady state. In a similar manner, cells that were initially grown in batch culture and a glucose-rich environment reached a steady state with a cell concentration that is much lower. The feed composition and dilution rates for both cultures were similar, suggesting steady state multiplicity. From a processing perspective the desired steady state among those is the one with the least metabolite production. At such seady state nutrient concentration in the feed can be further increased to increase cell and product concentrations without causing the metabolite inhibitory effect typically seen in a cell culture. Controlling cell metabolism in a continuous culture to reduce or eliminate waste metabolite production may significantly improve the productivity of mammalian cell culture processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-13
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998


  • Cell culture
  • Hybridoma
  • Metabolism


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