The LAMBDA MINIFOR bench-top laboratory fermenter and bioreactor was developed as a result of the need to construct a small laboratory fermentor for volumes from 35 ml to over 6 liters. Based on long personal practical experience of fermentations we wanted to create a fermentor, which was easy to use and with the capacity to measure and control all the important parameters of the biological culture.
The fer mentor had to take up minimum space on the bench but with good access to all parts. Several fer mentors should when placed side by side be suitable for the optimization of the parameters of growth of culture or optimization of bio-transformations etc.
Each fermentor should be able to work independently or be connected to a PC for advanced regulation and extensive data treatment.
To keep the cost of the MINIFOR fermentor-bioreactor low, without compromising quality, several new ideas and innovations have been introduced:
• Instead of a fermentor flask with a stainless steel cover, which is expensive, we use whole glass vessels with threaded fittings. They have been used for many years in cell culture and are proved to maintain perfect sterility. Thanks to this concept, the MINIFOR fermenter-bioreactor is set up in shortest possible time.
• Instead of a traditional propeller agitator, which requires an expensive motor and magnetic coupling, we have introduced a new up-and-down agitation. A motor together with an inexpensive membrane perfectly assure sterility and produce an efficient mixing without formation of a vortex (no baffles needed). At the same time this type of mixing is gentler on cells and produces less foam. Novel biomimicking “fish-tail” stirring discs offer maximum mixing efficiency without cutting edges.
• The culture is heated by heat radiation produced in a parabolic radiator with a gold reflector placed under the fermentation vessel. The heat is absorbed gently in the culture similarly to the sun heating water. There is no overheating of the culture at any volume and expensive double-wall vessels with thermostatic baths are eliminated. At the same time tubing and cables disappear making the fermentor less complex.
• As far as possible expensive pieces of equipment have been replaced by new high performance plastics.
• By using modern microprocessors it has been possible to place all the electronics in the front part of the instrument. This makes the fermentor unbelievably compact and eliminates the casing tower. Despite its small size six parameters are measured and controlled in the basic configuration of the MINIFOR.