v Effective Autoclave Scale-Up for Antibody Production Research | TOMY

Last Updated on June 4, 2021

Sourcing autoclaves to sterilize small bioreactors and fermentors can be challenging due to the configuration of and cost of most autoclaves

Sourcing autoclaves for bioreactor or fermentor sterilization can be challenging due to complex logistics and funding limitations, however, top-loading autoclaves’ can be an ideal solution for quickly increasing a research operation’s sterilization capacity.

The Promise of Recombinant Antibody Treatment

As a promising therapy against coronavirus and other viruses, there has been an increased focus on monoclonal antibody (mAbs)-based treatments and possibly preventative therapies.  This in turn has raised the demand for equipment necessary for antibody production research, as well as preemptively increasing demand for equipment used in full-scale production.

Though there are a plethora of antibody cloning methods, whether the host of choice is bacteria, yeast, or mammalian cells, etc., the preferred methods for scalability will involve the use of bioreactors or fermentors to maximize production levels and increase efficiency.  Anyone who has been involved in antibody cloning operations will also know that proper bioreactor and fermentor sterilization is key to preventing contamination and maintaining production levels.

Challenges in Increasing Sterilization Capacity

Autoclaving is the preferred method for bioreactor and fermentor sterilization due to the ability to effectively sterilize the entire contraption under highly pressurized steam.  However, increasing an operation’s autoclaving capacity in a short amount of time is not an easy task, both in terms of logistics and funding.  This is often due to the fact that autoclaves tend to be large and expensive pieces of equipment, which not coincidentally are also difficult and time-consuming to source, install, and maintain.  

Many laboratories, which are still in the early to intermediate research stage and unclear on the promise of mAbs-based therapeutic products may not be ready to make large-scale capital investments in industrial-scale autoclaves.  Due to the awkward configuration of most industrial autoclaves, those that are large enough to accommodate small to medium-size bioreactors and fermenters would require investments of tens of thousands of dollars, even to meet marginal throughput.  Fortunately, there are autoclaves that are designed to effectively accommodate smaller bioreactors and fermentors, while being inexpensive, compact, and easy to install.

Top-loading autoclaves and the vertical configuration of the chamber allows for efficient research-scale bioreactor and fermentor sterilization

Top-loading autoclaves' vertically aligned chambers are ideal for sterilizing bioreactors and fermentors

Top-loading autoclaves’ vertically-aligned chamber configuration provides the perfect solution for effectively and affordably scaling a bioreactor and fermentor sterilization operation.

Top-Loading Autoclaves for Bioreactors / Fermentor Sterilization

Top-loading type autoclaves are ideal for sterilizing bioreactors and fermentors typically found in research laboratories, due to the design, utility, and affordability of these types of autoclaves. 

Laboratories that have immediate demand to scale their operation may find the following features useful:




  • The vertical configuration of top-loading autoclaves makes loading/unloading of bioreactors and fermentors easy (and maintain vertical alignment during loading and sterilization cycle), especially compared to smaller front-loading autoclaves. Using a tall loading basket allows for easy handling of heavy bioreactor/fermentor cylinders, especially when the device is hot after a sterilization cycle.
  • The vertical configuration allows for bioreactors and fermentors to be sterilized with liquid culture media inside the cylinder. When used with a tall basket, liquids can be caught and prevented from entering the chamber water.
  • Top-loading autoclaves have a relatively small footprint for their capacity. TOMY SX-Series autoclaves have the smallest known footprint to chamber size ratio among top-loading autoclaves.
  • TOMY top-loading autoclaves require no installation (steam or exhaust connections) and simply need to be plugged in and filled with water.



  • Standard front-loading autoclaves large enough to accommodate bioreactors and fermenters are prohibitively expensive for smaller organizations and highly ineffective (in terms of price to loading capacity) for all organizations. Relatively speaking, top-loading autoclaves, such as TOMY SX-Series autoclaves are very affordable in high loading capacity for sterilization of bioreactors and fermenters.
  • Due to the simplicity of design, reliability, and low maintenance needs, top-loading autoclaves are more affordable in terms of long-term upkeep costs.


As illustrated, top-loading autoclaves can be both an effective and efficient means in bioreactor and fermentor sterilization, as well as quickly and cost-effectively scale-up antibody production research operations.

For pricing and questions concerning TOMY SX-Series autoclaves and compatibility of bioreactor/fermentor models, please use our contact form, email, or call us at 858-800-3900.

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Disclaimer: TOMY autoclaves for research use only.  Information contained in this blog entry is not meant to substitute proper research, execution, and maintenance of laboratory practices.  Please check the most up-to-date information on authoritative sources and adhere to applicable federal, state, and local regulations.