C metabolic flux analysis (MFA) provides a rigorous approach to quantify intracellular metabolism of industrial cell lines. In this study, C MFA was used to characterize the metabolic response of Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells to a novel medium variant designed to reduce ammonia production. Ammonia inhibits growth and viability of CHO cell cultures, alters glycosylation of recombinant proteins, and enhances product degradation. Ammonia production was reduced by manipulating the amino acid composition of the culture medium; specifically, glutamine, glutamate, asparagine, aspartate, and serine levels were adjusted. Parallel C flux analysis experiments determined that, while ammonia production decreased by roughly 40%, CHO cell metabolic phenotype, growth, viability, and monoclonal antibody (mAb) titer were not significantly altered by the changes in media composition. This study illustrates how C flux analysis can be applied to assess the metabolic effects of media manipulations on mammalian cell cultures. The analysis revealed that adjusting the amino acid composition of CHO cell culture media can effectively reduce ammonia production while preserving fluxes throughout central carbon metabolism.
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