Institut für Systembiotechnologie

Straight from the lab

New ion chromatography for production characterization

In April, we received a new instrument for the analysis of ions in fermentation samples. Ions play an important role in many of our cell factories and manufacturing processes. They are essential nutrients for cell growth, building blocks for valuable products and regulators of cellular processes. Often, we have to control the concentrations of individual ions exactly. As example, the microbial production of amino acids such as lysine requires sufficient quantities of ammonium in the medium, while on the other hand, the production of biopolymers such as PHA only begins when ammonium is no longer available. The new device allows us to follow our experiments more closely in the future and monitor the occurrence of the different ions simultaneously. Depending on the mode of operation, Thermo-Fisher's system can separate and detect cations or anions: this gives us access to cations such as ammonium, sodium or potassium as well as anions such as chloride, phosphate, sulfate or sulfite. By coupling to a conductivity detector, the ions can be sensitively and flexibly detected. First experiments show that we can measure even very complex samples. The acquisition was realized by means of own research funds of the institute. It is an important supplement to our analytical possibilities.