The development and production of pharmaceutical products frequently involve mixing liquids and adding air or other gases, particularly in the case of fermentation. These processes are increasingly used to produce both precursors and end products. Foam is a common problem in fermentation processes and can cause overflows, blocked filters, contamination, damage to equipment and expensive complete product loss.
A common way to control foam is by continuous or manual addition of defoamer chemicals. This method is hit and miss and has considerable disadvantages. It is almost impossible to add the optimum amount of antifoam without measuring the foam. Overdosing with antifoam reduces the mass gas transfer and consequently reduces the efficiency and yield of the process.
By far, the best approach to managing foam in a bioreactor is to measure the foam using a foam sensor fitted in the head plate and to add just enough defoamer only when it is required. The Hycontrol foam sensors were originally designed for just this.
Hycontrol has many years of experience with measuring foam in fermenters and bioreactors using microbial, animal cell, fungal and other microorganisms. We can make products to USP Class 6 standards with the required documentation using FDA approved materials. There is a wide range of available fittings to suit all makes of vessels including laboratory scale, pilot scale and production scale bioreactors. Hycontrol foam sensors are hygienic, steam sterilizing and suitable for CIP. The sensors are designed with fouling immunity to prevent false alarms and overdosing.
The SureSense⁺ technology can be used to measure both liquid and foam level at the same time in one product. This feature is particularly useful in busy reactors with limited head plate ports.