Lab Efficiencies 2.0: More Time-Savers that Boost Your Budget

August 18, 2011

In the second part of a two-part series, we consider efficient options for lab professionals:

Saver Suggestion #2: Use an advanced bioreactor with one control interface

Bioreactors simulate an environment for photosynthetic organisms, especially algae, to grow and chemically convert. They are used for biodiesel research, fermentation, and various applications within the production of nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food, and more. Many, if not most, bioreactors require external lighting systems and peristaltic pumps to operate. Yet, newer, more advanced models combine these elements into one compact system that also takes up less space in the lab.

IKA® BR 10 Bioreactor

IKA® BR 10 Bioreactor

Doug Stark, IKA Manufacturing Engineering Manager, along with his colleagues worked with marine scientists to develop a unit that contains these efficiencies and more. “The IKA® BR 10 Bioreactor is a self-contained automated unit that optimizes cell growth,” he explained. “The interior of the vessel is chemically inert, with no exposure to metal. It contains six compact double-fluorescent lamps which can be timed to simulate day or night. A digitally controlled overhead stirrer gently agitates the contents to assist with oxygen transfer while also preserving fragile cells. A variable-speed peristaltic pump provides the flow. One interface controls all of the variables―lighting, motion, pH value, and temperature.”

Because of the automation, users spend less time adjusting and monitoring the variables and can concentrate on other lab work. Also, with an integrated compact system such as this, labs can save more than twice their counter space as compared to traditional units.

According to Bob Hardin, Director of Manufacturing/Industrial Engineering, IKA, they can realize other savings as well. “Traditional bioreactors typically cost in the $50,000 range. With these newer, more progressive units, the price point is about half that even though users are getting more advanced features,” he said.

Some systems are also versatile. For example, as a 10-liter system, the IKABR 10 Bioreactor can also be put to use as a lab reactor. “Simply turn off the lighting system and this unit is equal to many lab reactors,” said Hardin.

The savings accumulates―less time to operate, less lab space, lower price point―to deliver enhanced efficiency.


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