Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fermentation Analysis Software

There's this neat question on the Mathematical Modeling of Fermentation LinkedIn Group on software used in Fermentation.
I would like to ask about the software for the analysis of your fermentation processes. Software for analysis, but not for the fermentation control. Although, if you can say something about the control programs, it is welcome, too.

I suspect that the people in this group deal with small-scale or pilot plant-scale, but this question is actually worth answering for large-scale cell culture/fermentation.

deltav In 1999, the fermentation control software was basically free-for-all.  No single company had a stranglehold on the market. Allen-Bradley PLCs were popular, Siemen's was popular, Honeywell was a good option... But over a decade, the company that has really taken over the control layer is Emerson's DeltaV system.

The reason this is worth talking about is because the data source comes from instrument IO that is monitored by the control software. All analysis is preceded by data capture, archival and retreival. DeltaV is that software that does the capture.
1) What software is used on your fermentation equipment?
osisoft pi Next up is the system that archives this instrument data for the long-term. DeltaV has a historian, but the most popular data historian is OSIsoft's PI (a.k.a. OSI PI). And the reason is because the PI has stellar client tools and stellar support. PI client tools like DataLink and ProcessBook are good for generic process troubleshooting and support. More sophisticated analysis requires statistical programs.

Zymergi offers OSI PI consulting for biotech companies.

2) What software you prefer to analyze of your fermentations and for your future fermentation processes planning?

JMP This is where there's a lot of differentiation in fermentation analysis software. My personal fave is SAS Institute's JMP software. This is desktop stats software that lets users explore the data and tease signal from noise or truth from perception. I've solved a ton of problems and produced answers to 7-figure problems with this software.

Zymergi offers MSAT consulting helping customers set up MSAT groups and execute MSAT functions.

There are others operating in this space, but I have yet to see any vendor make headway beyond trial installation and cursory usage.
3) Do you agree with the fact that the question of software for fermentation processes doesn't undergo a rapid development now?
All of these tools are not fermentation specific.  They each are superior in their respective categories:

  • DeltaV is a superior control system
  • OSI PI is a superior data historian
  • JMP is a superior data analysis software
Where there is a gap, fermentation analysis is how to link upstream factors to downstream responses.

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