The production of recombinant proteins in bioreactors requires real-time process monitoring and control to increase process efficiency and to meet the requirements for a comprehensive audit trail. The combination of optical near-infrared turbidity sensors and dielectric spectroscopy provides diverse system information because different measurement principles are exploited. We used this combination of techniques to monitor and control the growth and protein production of stably transformed Drosophila melanogaster
S2 cells expressing antimicrobial proteins. The in situ monitoring system was suitable in batch, fed-batch and perfusion modes, and was particularly useful for the online determination of cell concentration, specific growth rate (µ
) and cell viability. These data were used to pinpoint the optimal timing of the key transitional events (induction and harvest) during batch and fed-batch cultivation, achieving a total protein yield of ~25 mg at the 1-L scale. During cultivation in perfusion mode, the OD880
signal was used to control the bleed line in order to maintain a constant cell concentration of 5 × 107
cells/mL, thus establishing a turbidostat/permittistat culture. With this setup, a five-fold increase in productivity was achieved and 130 mg of protein was recovered after 2 days of induced perfusion. Our results demonstrate that both sensors are suitable for advanced monitoring and integration into online control strategies.