Potential of on-line CIMS for bioprocess monitoring

Biotechnology Progress
Thomas G CusterRay Fall


Chemical-ionization mass spectrometry (CIMS) using flow reactors is an emerging method for on-line monitoring of trace concentrations of organic compounds in the gas phase. In this study, a flow-reactor CIMS instrument, employing the H(3)O(+) cation as the ionizing reagent, was used to simultaneously monitor several volatile metabolic products as they are released into the headspace during bacterial growth in a bioreactor. Production of acetaldehyde, ethanol, acetone, butanol, acetoin, diacetyl, and isoprene by Bacillus subtilis is reported. Ion signal intensities were related to solution-phase concentrations using empirical calibrations and, in the case of isoprene, were compared with simultaneous gas chromatography measurements. Identification of volatile and semivolatile metabolites is discussed. Flow-reactor CIMS techniques should be useful for bioprocess monitoring applications because of their ability to sensitively and simultaneously monitor many volatile metabolites on-line.


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