Mettler Toledo says its new dissolved oxygen (DO) measuring optical sensors can speed up the API production process and reduce maintenance costs.
Oxygen levels in bioreactors must be controlled to ensure the highest yield and quality in active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) production. However sensor maintenance poses the risk of contamination with microorganisms.
Now the Swiss firm says its InPro 6860i technology’s intelligent sensor management (ISM) system will simplify handling through its predictive diagnostics system, which means operators can determine if it needs maintenance before its next use.
Pharma segment specialist Kurt Hiltbrunner told in-PharmaTechnologist: “The key to ISM is a powerful microprocessor that is embedded in the head of the sensors.
“It has easy to read tools that notify the user if sensor maintenance is required before measurements are affected, offering the highest level of confidence in sensor ‘health.’”
Hiltbrunner added that the company believes optical DO sensors, such as the InPro, will begin to replace traditional amperometric DO sensors, which use electrochemical technology.
Of the optical sensor’s benefits, he added: “Optical sensors require very little maintenance, saving time and money. They exhibit very low drift, so they are more reliable during long fermentation runs.
“They also have a faster response time, allowing quicker corrective action.”
The device works using the principle of fluorescence quenching – a process which decreases the fluorescence intensity of a given substance – as molecular oxygen is a common ‘quencher’.
Oxygen measurement signals then allow the operator to control the rate for air sparging to maintain optimal growth conditions in the bioreactor.
The firm says the device – which consists of a sensor, housing for installation, an ISM transmitter and a PC based iSense asset suite – can be used with any bioreactor, including single-use.
Jürgen Illerhaus, head of product management at Mettler Toledo process analytics, said: “These unique benefits, together with the outstanding robustness and user friendliness of the sensor, answer the most demanding process requirements from direct integration in bench top fermenters to validated production processes.”