The Fill-It automated benchtop vial filling system from TAP Biosystems has been installed at Chr. Hansen, a global bioscience company that develops natural ingredients for the food and nutritional industries.
The system, which is being utilised for the first time in the food industry, will be used to improve processing throughput of large batches of vials containing bacterial starter cultures for use in variety of fermented food products.
Scientists at Chr. Hansen have factory tested and installed the Fill-It to decrease production time of their culture inoculation material. It will also be used to convert non-Kosher strains to ones that are Kosher certified.
Each vial contains 4ml of a yeast extract media or a thick milk based culture containing up to 100,000 cells/ml of bacterial strains, including Lactobacillus, Lactococcus and Bifidobacterium.
These starter cultures will be distributed globally to Chr. Hansen’s production sites to be used as the first step in producing cultures for yoghurts, fermented milks and cheese, or for wine fermentation.
Microbiologists at Chr. Hansen selected Fill-It because of its capability to double batch production and maintain high quality, contamination-free cultures.
James Lemanczyk, microbial service technician at Chr. Hansen said: “We were using a huge semi-automated filling system which took two people to operate with one technician loading vials at one end and another one to remove and package the vials at the other. It was very time consuming and we knew we had to upgrade our process to make it not only more efficient but also more consistent.
“We chose Fill-It because the system is so compact we can use it in a standard laminar flow cabinet. We can also fit the system with a disposable tube set, as well as adapt it to fit 5ml sterile Nunc tubes. These features will not only save time with batch set-up but will help us ensure there is minimal operator interaction to produce cultures that are kept pure and contamination free during each run.”