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Publication Detail
Small-Scale Fluidized Bed Bioreactor for Long-Term Dynamic Culture of 3D Cell Constructs and in vitro Testing
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Mendonça da Silva J, Erro E, Awan M, Chalmers SA, Fuller B, Selden C
  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
  • Volume:
  • Status:
© Copyright © 2020 Mendonça da Silva, Erro, Awan, Chalmers, Fuller and Selden. With the increasing interest in three-dimensional (3D) cell constructs that better represent native tissues, comes the need to also invest in devices, i.e., bioreactors, that provide a controlled dynamic environment similar to the perfusion mechanism observed in vivo. Here a laboratory-scale fluidized bed bioreactor (sFBB) was designed for hydrogel (i.e., alginate) encapsulated cells to generate a dynamic culture system that produced a homogenous milieu and host substantial biomass for long-term evolution of tissue-like structures and “per cell” performance analysis. The bioreactor design, conceptualized through scale-down empirical similarity rules, was initially validated through computational fluid dynamics analysis for the distributor capacity of homogenously dispersing the flow with an average fluid velocity of 4.596 × 10–4 m/s. Experimental tests then demonstrated a consistent fluidization of hydrogel spheres, while maintaining shape and integrity (606.9 ± 99.3 μm diameter and 0.96 shape factor). It also induced mass transfer in and out of the hydrogel at a faster rate than static conditions. Finally, the sFBB sustained culture of alginate encapsulated hepatoblastoma cells for 12 days promoting proliferation into highly viable (>97%) cell spheroids at a high final density of 27.3 ± 0.78 million cells/mL beads. This was reproducible across multiple units set up in parallel and operating simultaneously. The sFBB prototype constitutes a simple and robust tool to generate 3D cell constructs, expandable into a multi-unit setup for simultaneous observations and for future development and biological evaluation of in vitro tissue models and their responses to different agents, increasing the complexity and speed of R&D processes.
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