Cell sensitive pumping with peristaltic pumps

Ismatec Pro-280 pumphead for pumping living cells

Ismatec Pro-280 pump headThe Pro-280 pump head connected to either a BVP Process or MCP Process peristaltic pump drive is a suitable system to continuously pump living cells while minimizing cell damage. It is a uniquely designed system suitable for use in biotechnology applications. It has been tested in laboratory scale and small scale production reactors up to 30 litres.

How does it work?

The pump-head Pro-280 has 2 convex rollers and the tube-bed is concave. Before the roller totally closes the squeezed tubing, the cells can escape through a gap towards the tubing wall and, hence, are neither "squashed" nor damaged.

Isamatec Pro-280 Convex rollers and tube-bed

Comparison of different peristaltic pump systems for use in animal cell cultures

Pumping living cells in a bioreactor is a challenge. Although peristaltic pumps are suitable for operating bio reactors, continuously pumping (circulating) living, viable cells is a challenge, as regular peristaltic pump heads damage the cells over time due to mechanical interaction. Ismatec worked with the ZUW (Zurich University Winterthur, Switzerland) to show, that the peristaltic pump heads designed for gentle pumping are suitable for pumping living cells.

Ismatec at ZUW Zurich University Winterthur

Application: Pumping animal cell cultures

A comparison between different peristaltic pump systems was made by Ms Fan Guo and Prof. Dr. U. Graf-Hausner of Zurich Technical University Winterthur, and Dr. Joanne Laukart of Ismatec.

Method: Cultivation of hybridoma cells in spinner bottles

The cells are continuously pumped through an external loop at a constant flow rate (1/2 reactor volume / hour = 250 ml/h) until a identifiable cell death is observed. The cell viability was monitored by analysing the bypass cell stream. The target was to keep cell viability high with low cell damage.


Using the P-280 pump head, cell death was observed after 56 hours. Other pump heads showed cell death after only 27 hours. The vitality of the living cells with the P-280 pump head remained at 87% after 56 hours of continuous pumping.

Isamatec Pro-280 test results