Applied spectroscopy

In situ near-infrared (NIR) versus high-throughput mid-infrared (MIR) spectroscopy to monitor biopharmaceutical production.

PMID 25955848


The development of biopharmaceutical manufacturing processes presents critical constraints, with the major constraint being that living cells synthesize these molecules, presenting inherent behavior variability due to their high sensitivity to small fluctuations in the cultivation environment. To speed up the development process and to control this critical manufacturing step, it is relevant to develop high-throughput and in situ monitoring techniques, respectively. Here, high-throughput mid-infrared (MIR) spectral analysis of dehydrated cell pellets and in situ near-infrared (NIR) spectral analysis of the whole culture broth were compared to monitor plasmid production in recombinant Escherichia coli cultures. Good partial least squares (PLS) regression models were built, either based on MIR or NIR spectral data, yielding high coefficients of determination (R(2)) and low predictive errors (root mean square error, or RMSE) to estimate host cell growth, plasmid production, carbon source consumption (glucose and glycerol), and by-product acetate production and consumption. The predictive errors for biomass, plasmid, glucose, glycerol, and acetate based on MIR data were 0.7 g/L, 9 mg/L, 0.3 g/L, 0.4 g/L, and 0.4 g/L, respectively, whereas for NIR data the predictive errors obtained were 0.4 g/L, 8 mg/L, 0.3 g/L, 0.2 g/L, and 0.4 g/L, respectively. The models obtained are robust as they are valid for cultivations conducted with different media compositions and with different cultivation strategies (batch and fed-batch). Besides being conducted in situ with a sterilized fiber optic probe, NIR spectroscopy allows building PLS models for estimating plasmid, glucose, and acetate that are as accurate as those obtained from the high-throughput MIR setup, and better models for estimating biomass and glycerol, yielding a decrease in 57 and 50% of the RMSE, respectively, compared to the MIR setup. However, MIR spectroscopy could be a valid alternative in the case of optimization protocols, due to possible space constraints or high costs associated with the use of multi-fiber optic probes for multi-bioreactors. In this case, MIR could be conducted in a high-throughput manner, analyzing hundreds of culture samples in a rapid and automatic mode.