Culturefuge is a range of unique bottom-fed hermetic cell centrifuges, and biopharma separators (or complete separation systems) developed especially for gentle cell harvesting of mammalian cell cultures, microbial cells and precipitated proteins. The resultant gentle and efficient feed acceleration avoids destroying shear-sensitive cell wall membranes, making downstream purification of the target proteins easier and more cost-effective.

Culturefuge cell centrifuge

Solids-ejecting separators and cell centrifuges developed especially for cell cultures

  • Consistent product quality – fully hermetic conditions effectively eliminate the air-liquid interface inside the separator bowl
  • Reduced risk of shearing and contamination ¬ unique hollow spindle feed ensures very gentle separation of cells
  • Easy scaling up – compact, flexible design can be accurately expanded from pilot plant to production
  • Maximum hygiene – flushing nozzles spray outside the centrifuge bowl and cyclone and inside the frame hood
  • Materials meet regulatory requirements for processing – option of automatic cleaning and sanitization using CIP and/or SIP systems

Culturefuge cell centrifuge can be supplied in a ready skid-mounted and meets the major pressure vessel specifications. The systems include piping for service and process liquids and an integrated electrical system with PLC and a pneumatic unit. Design options include a superfine electro-polished product contact surface and steam-sterilizable pump for transport of the solids phase. 

Gentle product acceleration

The Culturefuge is a specially developed range of separators for the gentle treatment of cell cultures and other shear-sensitive biological material. The unique hollow spindle concept enables gentle acceleration of the feed liquid to the rotational speed of the cell centrifuge, thereby minimizing cell lysis. This prevents the release of unwanted intracellular proteins or minimizes the destruction of fragile protein precipitates. Yields are thus enhanced and downstream operations optimized.

Scalable cell culture centrifuge

Ideal for cell culture fermentation and continuous cell harvesting under hermetic conditions, the Culturefuge cell centrifuge delivers consistent product quality. In addition, it can be accurately and reliably scaled up from use in pilot plants to full-scale production.

Airtight cell culture centrifuge and separator

The Culturefuge is a fully hermetic separator, which effectively eliminates any air-liquid interface inside the separator bowl. This prevents air entrainment, which can cause problems in the downstream filtration process. Furthermore, flow control devices can be located downstream, thus enabling the implementation of an obstruction-free, full-bore feed arrangement. 

Hygienic design

Culturefuge cell centrifuges and separators are engineered using materials that meet stringent regulatory requirements for processing. To maintain hygienic operating conditions, this cell culture centrifuge can be automatically cleaned and sanitized without requiring major disassembly or assembly using Sterilization-in-Place (SIP) and Cleaning-in-Place (CIP) systems. In addition, flushing nozzles spray outside the centrifuge bowl, cyclone and inside the frame hood for maximum hygiene.

Complete separation system

The Alfa Laval Culturefuge cell centrifuge is supplied as a skid-mounted separation system consisting of a disk-stack separator mounted on a fixed base frame with a horizontal drive shaft, worm gear, lubricating oil bath and hollow vertical bowl spindle, and piping for service liquids and process liquids. In addition, it includes an integrated electrical system with a starter, programmable logic control (PLC), and a pneumatic unit. 

The design of the cell culture separator is in accordance with most major pressure vessel specifications, including ASME and PED. 

Design options

    • Superfine electro-polished product contact surface
    • Steam-sterilizable pump for transport of the solids phase
    • Delivery of skid-mounted unit for open operation contained running steam-sterilizable aseptic operation or steam decontamination-only operation.

The Culturefuge cell centrifuge range

  • Culturefuge 100 for pilot plants and small-scale production with capacities ranging from 200 to 2,000 l/hr.
  • Culturefuge 200 for medium scale production with capacities ranging from 1,000 to 5,000 l/hr.
  • Culturefuge 300 for medium to large scale production with capacities ranging from 2,000 to 8,000 l/hr.
  • Culturefuge 400 for large scale production with capacities ranging from 5,000 to
    20,000 l/hr.

Upon request, Alfa Laval can provide validation support services and a rigorous Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) in our in-house test facility.

Cuturefuge cell centrifuge - Benefits

  • Compact and flexible design
  • Sterilizable
  • CIP (Cleaning-In-Place)-able
  • Contained

The Culturefuge concept

How it works

The Culturefuge cell separator provides gentle, fully hermetic treatment of cell cultures and other shear-sensitive biological materials. The biological material enters the cell centrifuge through a hollow spindle feed inlet.  It gradually accelerates as it moves upward to the disc stack, where the separation takes place in the rotating centrifuge bowl.  The separated liquid phase leaves through the liquid outlet at the top of the bowl. The collected solids in the solid space are intermittently discharged from the periphery of the bowl. During normal production, the operating water keeps the sliding bowl bottom closed against the bowl hood. During discharge, the sliding bowl bottom drops for a short time (less than a second), and the solids are ejected through the discharge ports. 

Test, validate, and scale up your next separation solution

Whether upgrading your production line or running a proof of concept, Alfa Laval helps you choose the right separator solution with confidence. Simply get in touch to arrange a consultation and trial at one of our test centres, or to rent a unit for onsite testing.

Testing separation solutions

The first premium separation solution for single-use biopharma processing

Meet Alfa Laval CultureOne: efficient, proven clarification with gentle handling of shear-sensitive biological material, increased yield and improved protein recovery. Get ready to discover new possibilities for small-batch production with unparalleled performance.


The Separator Innovator

Would you like to know more about our innovations in separation technology? Click on the link below. Alfa Laval invented the first disc stack separator and has led the way in the development of centrifuge technology for over a century. We are glad to share with you the expertise we have gained along the way. Visit our Separator Innovator knowledge base to learn more about advancements in separation and the steps Alfa Laval is taking to continue revolutionizing the technology.

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