Politecnico di Torino - Corso Duca degli Abruzzi, 24 - 10129 Torino, ITALY

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Bioreactor for studying cellular activity

Autonomous bioreactorcell culturescellular activityreal time analysis


The present invention consists of an autonomous bioreactor that allows the monitoring of cellular activities under various physical, chemical and mechanical stimuli, also under both isobaric conditions and in the presence of controlled fluxes. The innovative bioreactor does not require an incubator and allows dynamic control of physiological parameters and real-time monitoring of the experiment, in contrast to currently available products.

Technical features

The bioreactor consists of a silicon cell, moldable according to the purposes, that allows the inclusion of different force transducers in order to study how different physical-chemical stimuli act on cellular activities.

It can be mounted under a microscope in order to allow a real time analysis of what happens within the cell without the use of an incubator: the system allows to control all the vital physiological variables of the cells (pH, temperature, nutrient flow, pressure). Pressure is controlled in a dynamic way inside the cell culture, using a  flow regulator system. Gases such as O2 and CO2 can be controlled, and cell monitored with sensors or by taking medium samples to analyze metabolites.

The system has been tested on hepatocytes, intestinal cells, hepatic and brain organoids, fibroblasts, chondrocytes, adipocytes and endothelial cells. The system has allowed a 10-fold reduction in culture medium volumes used for each experiment compared to other available devices (20 mL compared to 300-500 mL), with a significant economic saving, both in terms of culture medium and in the analysis of the substances contained therein. The capacity of a bioreactor ranges from a minimum of 1 mL to volumes of litres.

Possible Applications

  • Development of biological constructs in tissue engineering;
  • Bioengineering;
  • Pharmacological testing;
  • Allergenic testing in cosmetics.


  • Modular chambers;
  • Autonomous: no need for an incubator;
  • Real-time analysis;
  • Possibility to control physiological variables in real time;
  • Dynamic pressure control;
  • Saves on media, nutrients and growth factors used.