Flow-following sensor devices: A tool for bridging data and model predictions in large-scale fermentations

Jonas Bisgaard, Monica Muldbak, Sjef Cornelissen, Tannaz Tajsoleiman, Jakob K. Huusom, Tue Rasmussen, Krist V. Gernaey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewpeer-review

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Production-scale fermentation processes in industrial biotechnology experience gradients in process variables, such as dissolved gases, pH and substrate concentrations, which can potentially affect the production organism and therefore the yield and profitability of the processes. However, the extent of the heterogeneity is unclear, as it is currently a challenge at large scale to obtain representative measurements from different zones of the reactor volume. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models have proven to be a valuable tool for better understanding the environment inside bioreactors. Without detailed measurements to support the CFD predictions, the validity of CFD models is debatable. A promising technology to obtain such measurements from different zones in the bioreactors are flow-following sensor devices, whose development has recently benefitted from advancements in microelectronics and sensor technology. This paper presents the state of the art within flow-following sensor device technology and addresses how the technology can be used in large-scale bioreactors to improve the understanding of the process itself and to test the validity of detailed computational models of the bioreactors in the future.

Original languageEnglish
JournalComputational and Structural Biotechnology Journal
Pages (from-to)2908-2919
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Flow-follower
  • Gradients
  • Industrial biotechnology
  • Large-scale bioreactor
  • Mixing
  • Model validation
  • Modelling
  • Sensor device


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