Friday, July 19, 2013

What IS Peptone Anyway?

According to the free dictionary,

Any of various water-soluble protein derivatives obtained by partial hydrolysis of a protein by an acid or enzyme during digestion and used in culture media in bacteriology.

Question: what is the source of protein?

Answer: Do you ever wonder what happens to the parts of the animal that humans DON'T eat or use?

Peptone vendors will get the animal scraps and make peptone by "dissolving" them with acid or digesting them with enzymes and eventually make them into a powder which gets sold to cell culture manufacturers who use them.

I know of bovine- and porcine-derived peptones... (aka "beef" or "pork").  With the mad cow scare from several years back, Process Development departments were moving away from bovine- to porcine.  And since then processes that use peptones have tried to move towards non-animal derived (aka "veggie") peptone.

As I've said before, peptone is that je ne sai quoi that the cells like and boosts their productivity.  A process development department that continues to use peptones do so at the risk of increasing manufacturing variability in favor of higher small-scale cell culture productivity.

And doing so risks making the process susceptible to peptone lot variability, which ultimately diminishes process robustness.

tl:dr - peptone is dissolved cow/pig/veggie parts ground into fine powder used by some biologics manufacturers to increase cell culture productivity.

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