Developing a single-use cell harvesting centrifuge

Alfa Laval CultureOne is an efficient and scalable centrifugal separation system with single-use components. It has been specifically engineered to meet the unique challenges of today’s single-use biopharmaceutical processing. In this whitepaper, you will learn how Alfa Laval’s proven separation innovations enable CultureOne to deliver consistently gentle treatment and improved yield in the harvesting of cell-culture-based fermentations. In certain conditions, it has even been shown to enable yields of up to 98%.

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What you will learn in this whitepaper

This white paper explores CultureOne’s robust design, built to provide reliable and quiet rotation of the separation components. The text also looks at the interior design of the unit, including Alfa Laval’s unique Hermetic Design and TopStream feature, which together enable efficient separation process with minimal lysis. You will discover how:

  • Gentle handling of shear thinned concentrated cell suspension via unique TopStream design allows for recovery of cells with protein producing mechanisms intact
  • CultureOne can achieve yields of up to 98%
  • Gentle processing with hermetic inlets to minimize additional cell lysis across the system
  • Efficient use of post centrifugation filters up to 900l/m2 can be achieved
  • The system is designed to effectively deal with process upsets and extreme operating conditions

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“The proof-of-concept experiments showed that continuous flow of a thick suspension of CHO cells was possible while maintaining a low turbidity and high filterability of the light phase. The resultant high yield values as well as decreased lysis of the cells in the feed line and rotating bowl also were positive results.”


High density (PCV of 28%) and stress testing. Interruption (35 min.) with no flow and spinning bowl.


Operation on high solids content in the feed with good clarity of the light phase (LP) still was possible. Once flow was reestablished (after interruption) the separation process continued as expected.


A study on a full single-use prototype system, to evaluate six different design configurations. Testing was performed with a 7.3% PCV cell culture fluid.


With all tested configurations, it is possible to achieve low additional lysis of the cells in the feed, with a large filtration throughput and high yield. Some configurations gave a higher filtration throughput at low to medium load factors and flow rates.


Trials with TopStream where solids/concentrated biomass flow towards the outlet over the top disc. Cell culture fluid at 6.6% PCV.


Concentration achieved was ~70% at the heavy phase outlet. Further g-force applied gave up to 80%.

To see more detailed results of the trials, as well as read analysis on the conclusions of the studies and understand the keys to success in the CultureOne design, fill out the form to get access to our white paper!