Evaluation of the Reproducibility and Robustness of Extrusion-Based Bioprinting Processes Applying a Flow Sensor
Strauß, S. / Schroth, B. / Hubbuch, J. (2022)
Front. Bioeng. Biotechnol., 2022, doi.org/10.3389/fbioe.2022.831350
- Date: März 2022
Bioprinting is increasingly regarded as a suitable additive manufacturing method in biopharmaceutical process development and formulation. In order to manage the leap from research to industrial application, higher levels of reproducibility and a standardized bioprinting process are prerequisites. This said, the concept of process analytical technologies, standard in the biopharmaceutical industry, is still at its very early steps. To date most extrusion-based printing processes are controlled over penumatic pressure and thus not adaptive to environmental or system related changes over several experimental runs. A constant set pressure applied over a number of runs, might lead to variations in flow rate and thus to unreliable printed constructs. With this in mind, the simple question arises whether a printing process based on a set flow rate could improve reproduciblity and transfer to different printing systems. The control and monitoring of flow rate aim to introduce the concept of PAT in the field of bioprinting. This study investigates the effect of different processing modes (set pressure vs. set flow rate) on printing reproducibility occurring during an extrusion-based printing process consisting of 6 experimental runs consisting of 3 printed samples each. Additionally, the influence of different filling levels of the ink containing cartridge during a printing process was determined. Different solutions based on a varying amount of alginate polymer and Kolliphor hydrogels in varying concentrations showed the need for individual setting of printing parameter. To investigate parameter transferability among different devices two different printers were used and the flow was monitored using a flow sensor attached to the printing unit. It could be demonstrated that a set flow rate controlled printing process improved accuracy and the filling level also affects the accuracy of printing, the magnitude of this effects varies as the cartridge level declined. The transferability between printed devices was eased by setting the printing parameters according to a set flow rate of each bioink disregarding the value of the set pressure. Finally, by a bioprinting porcess control based on a set flow rate, the coefficient of variance for printed objects could be reduced from 0.2 to 0.02 for 10% (w/v) alginate polymer solutions.