Processes2014, 2(2), 345-360; doi:10.3390/pr2020345 - published online 31 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The objective of this study was to design and validate a unique bioreactor design for applying spatially selective, linear, cyclic strain to degradable and non-degradable polymeric fabric scaffolds. This system uses a novel three-clamp design to apply cyclic strain via a computer controlled linear actuator to a specified zone of a scaffold while isolating the remainder of the scaffold from strain. Image analysis of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) woven scaffolds subjected to a 3% mechanical stretch demonstrated that the stretched portion of the scaffold experienced 2.97% ± 0.13% strain (mean ± standard deviation) while the unstretched portion experienced 0.02% ± 0.18% strain. NIH-3T3 fibroblast cells were cultured on the PET scaffolds and half of each scaffold was stretched 5% at 0.5 Hz for one hour per day for 14 days in the bioreactor. Cells were checked for viability and proliferation at the end of the 14 day period and levels of glycosaminoglycan (GAG) and collagen (hydroxyproline) were measured as indicators of extracellular matrix production. Scaffolds in the bioreactor showed a seven-fold increase in cell number over scaffolds cultured statically in tissue culture plastic petri dishes (control). Bioreactor scaffolds showed a lower concentration of GAG deposition per cell as compared to the control scaffolds largely due to the great increase in cell number. A 75% increase in hydroxyproline concentration per cell was seen in the bioreactor stretched scaffolds as compared to the control scaffolds. Surprisingly, little differences were experienced between the stretched and unstretched portions of the scaffolds for this study. This was largely attributed to the conditioned and shared media effect. Results indicate that the bioreactor system is capable of applying spatially-selective, linear, cyclic strain to cells growing on polymeric fabric scaffolds and evaluating the cellular and matrix responses to the applied strains.
Processes2014, 2(2), 333-344; doi:10.3390/pr2020333 - published online 28 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Tissue engineering systems for orthopedic tissues, such as articular cartilage, are often based on the use of biomaterial scaffolds that are seeded with cells and supplied with nutrients or growth factors. In such systems, relationships between the functional outcomes of the engineered tissue construct and aspects of the initial system design are not well known, suggesting the use of mathematical models as an additional tool for optimal system design. This study develops a reaction-diffusion model that quantitatively describes the competing effects of nutrient diffusion and the cellular uptake of nutrients in a closed bioreactor system consisting of a cell-seeded scaffold adjacent to a nutrient-rich bath. An off-lattice hybrid discrete modeling framework is employed in which the diffusion equation incorporates a loss term that accounts for absorption due to nutrient uptake by cells that are modeled individually. Numerical solutions are developed based on a discontinuous Galerkin finite element method with high order quadrature to accurately resolve fine-scale cellular effects. The resulting model is applied to demonstrate that the ability of cells to absorb nutrients over time is highly dependent on both the normal distance to the nutrient bath, as well as the nutrient uptake rate for individual cells.
Processes2014, 2(1), 311-332; doi:10.3390/pr2010311 - published online 19 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Growing concern for the environment, increasing stringent standards for the release of chemicals into the environment and economic competiveness have led to more environmentally friendly approaches that have resulted in greater pollution prevention via waste reduction and efficiency maximisation. Green process engineering (GPE) is an important tool that could make significant contributions in the drive toward making hazardous and wasteful processes more sustainable for the benefit of the economy, environment and society. This article highlights the guidelines that could be used by scientists and engineers for designing new materials, products, processes and systems. Few examples of current and future applications of GPE, particularly in the areas of biofuels, supercritical fluids, multi-functional reactors and catalytic processes, have been presented.
Processes2014, 2(1), 293-310; doi:10.3390/pr2010293 - published online 12 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Flotation constitutes a gravity separation process, which originated from the minerals processing field. However, it has, nowadays, found several other applications, as for example in the wastewater treatment field. Concerning the necessary bubble generation method, typically dispersed-air or dissolved-air flotation was mainly used. Various types of biological materials were tested and floated efficiently, such as bacteria, fungi, yeasts, activated sludge, grape stalks, etc. Innovative processes have been studied in our Laboratory, particularly for metal ions removal, involving the initial abstraction of heavy metal ions onto a sorbent (including a biosorbent): in the first, the application of a flotation stage followed for the efficient downstream separation of metal-laden particles. The ability of microorganisms to remove metal ions from dilute aqueous solutions (as most wastewaters are) is a well-known property. The second separation process, also applied effectively, was a new hybrid cell of microfiltration combined with flotation. Sustainability in this field and its significance for the chemical and process industry is commented.
Processes2014, 2(1), 265-292; doi:10.3390/pr2010265 - published online 10 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Fast process development, flexible production and the utilization of advanced process conditions are the main goals of modular and continuous small-scale plants (MCSPs). A configurable layout of the modules and the use of predefined equipment enable a quick and reliable conceptual process development and scale-up of continuous processes. Therefore, a computer-assisted selection methodology was developed and is presented, which allows the quick selection of plug flow reactor equipment for homogeneous liquid phase reactions. It identifies a favorable technical apparatus and the configuration in the early stages of process development. This can lead to the effective planning and guiding of scale-up experiments and closes the gap between lab and process development.
Processes2014, 2(1), 238-264; doi:10.3390/pr2010238 - published online 6 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Many products from the fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals industries are currently manufactured batch-wise in multi-product plants. However, this processing scheme suffers from severe drawbacks, such as a high specific energy demand, cleaning costs and high staff requirements. Transferring batch into continuous campaign productions may overcome these drawbacks. Using the case of writing ink, such a continuous manufacturing scheme was developed employing micro- and milli-structured components in order to intensify certain unit operations. In this paper, an ecological and economic assessment of both production concepts considering all lifecycle stages is presented. The aim of our work is to highlight the advantages and disadvantages of the two multi-product plants and to derive recommendations for the most efficient design and operation of a continuous campaign manufacturing plant. The results show that lower environmental impacts are related to continuous processing, which is due to the option for energy integration in this case. Furthermore, in the economic assessment, continuous processing proved to be economically viable. In this case, reduced staff requirements based on a highly automated manufacturing plant are the key to lower personnel costs. In general, the results emphasize the importance of such micro-/milli-continuous multi-product plants for the future manufacturing of newly developed products in the mentioned industries.