Ultrasound and Sonication Technology
The formation of cavitation bubbles – the transient effects of applying sonic energy such as ultrasound to a liquid – are implicated in Sonobioprocessing. The images show real cavitation bubbles created using high speed imaging. The asymmetric image at the bottom shows a bubble collapsing close to a surface and the emergence of an intracavity jet which provides disruptive effects upon the solid surface. The surface could be a heterogeneous catalyst or cellular matter. The bubble collapse involves transient high temperature and pressure – and very fast liquid flow when a jet is produced. For biocatalysis the beneficial effects include mixing and mass transfer, cell permeation, surface activation, improved productivity and enhanced reaction kinetics.
Small scale studies can be carried out with well-designed protocols but the key to successful and viable commercialisation is to use the right equipment for large scale implementation. Celbius has relationships with ultrasonic engineering partners for the design of large scale ultrasonic devices for sonobioprocessing. The most appropriate equipment should ideally be:
- Modular – link together to give the desired power levels
- ATEX approved – for use where there is a risk of an explosive environment or flammable solvents are used
- Easy to retrofit to existing plant infrastructure
- Energy efficient – useful ultrasonic effects rather than inefficient heating
- Cost effective – payback over a short time
- Useful for improved effects and not cell damage
Celbius is developing industrial scale Sonobioprocessing equipment and protocols for enzymatic and cellular biocatalytic processes aimed at the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, renewable chemicals and biofuels.