SBIR Phase I: Continuous Near Infrared Monitor for Pichia Pastoris Bioreactors

Period of Performance: 01/01/2009 - 12/31/2009


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

ASL Analytical, Inc.
Coralville, IA 52241
Principal Investigator


This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will develop sensing technology capable of continuously monitoring concentrations of critical metabolites during protein expression with the yeast Pichia pastoris. Presently, continuous monitoring is unavailable and this process is controlled using time consuming and labor intensive off-line analyses. This sensing technology uses near infrared absorption spectra of bioreactor growth medium collected continuously to monitor analyte concentrations and changes in biomass throughout the fermentation process. Preliminary results demonstrate the ability to make accurate and continuous analytical measurements and to actively control metabolite concentrations. This success is attributed to ASL innovations that include using a solid-state spectrometer, restricting the measurement spectral range, and implementing a calibration strategy based on analyte-specific chemical information. This Phase I effort will establish the commercial feasibility of this monitoring approach by developing a robust, practical calibration system for routine operation and by designing a means to continuously and non-destructively collect analytical spectra. The broader impacts of this research will be to enable accurate feedback control of bioreactors, thereby enhancing optimization