How to Pump Live Cells in Biopharma Applications

Masterflex I/P Digital Drive with Cloud-Enabled MasterflexLive Cytoflow Pump Head
Masterflex I/P® digital drive with cloud-enabled MasterflexLive™ and Cytoflow pump pead for precision tubing

By Shannon Andrade, Manager – Marcom, India

Are you using a pump system that maximises cell viability?

Pumps are routinely used in the biotechnology industry for a variety of up-stream and down-stream applications. During these processes, cells are exposed to different categories and scale of mechanical forces that lead to cell damage.

Shear sensitivity is identifiably the most common anxiety especially while circulating live cells within a bioreactor or during the manufacturing process. Certain cell cultures are known to be extremely sensitive to shear stress due to their size and morphology. Depending on the type, intensity, and duration of the force, and the specifics of the cell, the force may induce various kinds of responses in the subject cells. Some causalities include loss in biological activity, cell disruptions that could lead to release of cell components and enrichment of cell debris in the culture media. Thus, it can be said that the cell viability is directly proportional to shear stress the cells have been subjected to.

Using peristaltic pumps

Fundamentally, peristaltic pump technology delivers a gentle pumping action compared to other positive displacement pumps that equip machined gears of high-speed impellers to move liquids.

Not all peristaltic pumps are designed to provide the highest protection and handle sensitive fluids effectively. Live cells need to be continuously pumped through an external loop with a constant flow rate while incorporating a flat roller peristaltic pump head design. If cell death is observed during the transfer process, it could affect the overall yield of the product. Thus, it is essential to select the right combination of the pump and the pump head.

The right pump solution

Masterflex I/P® Digital Drive with Cloud-Enabled MasterflexLive®, Open-Head Sensor, and Cytoflow® Pump Head has been exclusively designed to enable efficient pumping of live cells and shear-sensitive fluids. This I/P digital pump gives you rugged performance and precise digital control. The full featured drive is ideal for fluid transfer, dispensing, and metering applications.

  • MasterflexLive® is a secure, cloud-enabled platform for control and monitoring of Masterflex pumps
  • Flow rate 0.001 to 13.6 LPM with I/P tubing—flow rate depends on drive rpm, pump head, and tubing size
  • Digital interface with graphical LCD shows pump performance and operating mode— continuous run, timed dispense, copy dispense, or volume dispense
  • Dispense by Volume in mL (0.001 to 9,999 mL), L, or gal; Copy—1 to 9,999 dispense cycles; or Time—time interval of on/off cycles (1 sec to 99 hr, 59 min, 59 sec per cycle)
  • Antidrip function ensures dispensing accuracy
  • Brushless, maintenance-free motor offers ±0.1% speed control accuracy with a 5000 to 1 turndown ratio
  • Rugged housing is NEMA 4X (IP66) rated for washdown
  • Open-head sensor stops the drive motor when pump head is opened—pair with an open-head sensor equipped pump head
  • Cytoflow pump head offers the best option for pumping live cells and shear-sensitive fluids—validated by independent test data

The outcome when using the Cytoflow pump head

The Cytoflow pump head offers the best option for pumping live cells and shear-sensitive fluids —validated by independent test data. The pump head is ideal for use in the biopharma and microbiology industries. The convex-roller design is gentler on live cells and shear-sensitive fluids. See a sample of the testing information below:

*Note: All testing was completed in accordance with ASTM F756-13 (standard Practice for Assessment of Hemolytic Properties of Materials) and FDA 21 CFR Part 58 (Good Laboratory Practice for Nonclinical Laboratory Studies) by an ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB) – Accredited laboratory.

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