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Decision tree for selection of suitable cultivation parameters for mammalian cell culture processes


Development of bioprocesses for mammalian cells has to deal with different bioreactor types and scales. Bio-reactors might be intended for seed train and production, research, process development, validation or transfer purposes. During these activities, not only the problem of up- and downscaling might lead to failure of repro-ducibility, but also the use of different bioreactor geometries and operation conditions. In such cases, the criteria for bioreactor design and process transfer should be re-evaluated in order to avoid an erroneous transfer of cultivation parameters.


For selection of process conditions several questions can be asked:

  • Type and scale of the intended cultivation system

  • Which data are required (cell specific parameters, specific data for the cultivation system)?

  • Are appropriate data e.g. for cell growth, substrate uptake, medium composition available?

  • For which cultivation systems have these data been determined?

  • Are data on power input, mixing time, oxygen transfer etc. available?

  • Which methods can be used to determine or estimate the above mentioned parameters?

For selection and evaluation of suitable cultivation parameters a decision tree (Figure 1) has been formulated to provide a guideline for design of mammalian cell culture processes. References for process transfer strategies are given for the following cases:

  • Scale similar and power imput similar: [13]

  • Scale similar and power imput similar: [46]

  • Scale up and power imput similar: [7, 8]

  • Scale up and power imput similar: [4, 9, 10]

Figure 1
figure 1

Decision tree for selection of suitable cultivation parameters µ - growth rate, OTR - oxygen transfer rate, OUR - oxygen uptake rate, k L a - volume specific mass transfer coefficient.


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Correspondence to Ralf Pörtner.

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Pörtner, R., Kern, S. & Eibl, D. Decision tree for selection of suitable cultivation parameters for mammalian cell culture processes. BMC Proc 9 (Suppl 9), P45 (2015).

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  • Decision Tree
  • Cultivation System
  • Process Transfer
  • Power Input
  • Operation Condition