Journal of biotechnology

Evaluation of parallel milliliter-scale stirred-tank bioreactors for the study of biphasic whole-cell biocatalysis with ionic liquids.

PMID 22079751


As clear structure-activity relationships are still rare for ionic liquids, preliminary experiments are necessary for the process development of biphasic whole-cell processes involving these solvents. To reduce the time investment and the material costs, the process development of such biphasic reaction systems would profit from a small-scale high-throughput platform. Exemplarily, the reduction of 2-octanone to (R)-2-octanol by a recombinant Escherichia coli in a biphasic ionic liquid/water system was studied in a miniaturized stirred-tank bioreactor system allowing the parallel operation of up to 48 reactors at the mL-scale. The results were compared to those obtained in a 20-fold larger stirred-tank reactor. The maximum local energy dissipation was evaluated at the larger scale and compared to the data available for the small-scale reactors, to verify if similar mass transfer could be obtained at both scales. Thereafter, the reaction kinetics and final conversions reached in different reactions setups were analysed. The results were in good agreement between both scales for varying ionic liquids and for ionic liquid volume fractions up to 40%. The parallel bioreactor system can thus be used for the process development of the majority of biphasic reaction systems involving ionic liquids, reducing the time and resource investment during the process development of this type of applications.