This paper presents a T-flask based screening platform for evaluating and identifying plant hydrolysates for cell culture processes. The development of this platform was driven by an urgent need of replacing a soy hydrolysate that was no longer available for the fed-batch process of recombinant Sp2/0 cell culture expressing a humanized antibody. Series of small-scale experiments in T-flasks and 3-l bioreactors were designed to gain an insight on how this soy hydrolysate benefits the culture. A comprehensive, function-oriented screening platform then was developed, consisting of three T-flask tests, namely the protection test, the growth promotion test, and the growth inhibition test. The cell growth in these three T-flask tests enabled a good prediction of the cell growth in the fed-batch bioreactor process. Fourteen plant hydrolysate candidates were quickly evaluated by this platform for their ability to exert strong protection, high cell growth promotion, and low cell growth inhibition to the culture. One soy hydrolysate was successfully identified to support the comparable cell growth as the discontinued soy hydrolysate. Because of the advantage of using small-scale batch culture to guide bioreactor fed-batch culture, this proposed platform approach has the potential for other applications, such as the medium and feeding optimization, and the mechanism study of plant hydrolysates, in a high throughput format
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