How Chr. Hansen is accelerating their new product development with the Reshape Microbiology Platform
Anja Kristiansen and her team at Chr. Hansen are pioneering innovative solutions for animal nutrition and health. With a very strong in-house automation platform downstream bottlenecks often arise. These are labor intensive and can require large amounts of consumables. Resolving this would improve both work processes and experimental throughput.
Higher data resolution, up 15x as more datapoints
144 hours saved and 60 kg of plastic saved
“As we often test at elevated temperatures to reproduce real-life settings, changes happen fast and sometimes overnight. With the Reshape Imaging System we can not only increase the data resolution but also downscale our assays to radically increase the throughput. This has not only helped us speed up our development time but also saved a lot of manual labor.”
Challenge: accurately capturing microbial behavior on complex substrates
Within the field of developing new cultures that improves the animal feed and animal health in general Chr. Hansen is a global leader. They are continuously pushing the boundaries and developing innovative products that are meeting the needs of farmers across the world. Using their impressive portfolio of microbial culture-based technologies, they have huge impact when it comes to reducing antibiotic usage, increasing feed utilization, reducing waste in industrial supply chains, and ensuring well-being for both pet and farm animals.
However, building upon their microbial technologies is challenging early in the development pipeline where the complexity of real life needs to be balanced with high-throughput experimental setups. During the development of new strains and formulations, they faced limitations with existing equipment when it came to quantifying certain phenotypic traits in complex matrices.
“The number of resources required to run a dose-response assay is substantial when using classical microbiologic methods. Scaling down on one hand results in higher quality data because it is possible to make test more parameters in more replicates and on the other it puts higher requirements on our assay development efforts to ensure that they mimic the real world sufficiently. Using less media and plastic per datapoint is also important as a sustainability initiative here at Chr. Hansen. Our existing equipment works well for some cases but fell short for other.”
While the results from previous projects were valuable, the time and effort involved made it hard to quickly get to new and more highly resolved data. Time is scarce in any R&D lab, and experiments are often constrained by practical feasibility.
“The key question is always how big the throughput and how long it takes to get the data - if we can go from 5 months to 3 months, that makes everyone happy. In addition, increasing the throughput may create bottlenecks during the assessment of the experiments and due to differences in metabolic speed of different microorganisms the optimal assessment time may sometimes be in the middle of the night”
An initial platform was setup with a capacity of 10 microtiter plates, consisting of a single Reshape Imaging System and customized image analysis pipelines to accurately track microbial growth and color changes in wells.
After utilizing the Reshape platform for just a few weeks, a lot of benefits were clear:
“We were able to increase the amount of valuable data generated and decrease the amount of time it took to create it, which was one of the big bottlenecks. What used to take 15 hours now effectively takes no time. On top of that, we’ve been able to use the high-quality videos generated directly with the commercial team - it’s a lot more tangible for customers to see how effective our product is on a video instead of showing abstract graphs of product performance.”
Today, the Reshape Imaging System is being evaluated for further roll-out in more assays at Chr. Hansen.
The Results: Pioneering Research Accelerated and Enhanced Collaboration
“I would most certainly recommend the Reshape Imaging System. The communication with the team has been great, and it has given us a lot of new capabilities we didn’t have before, helping us tackle some of the trickiest experimental challenges in our work.”
With the Reshape Imaging System, Chr. Hansen was able to reduce the time to result through:
Best in class digitalization with:
- Fully automatic quantification of all results
- End-to-end documentation of all experiments in one online system for easy collaboration and hand-over of assays
- Direct commercial benefits by enabling commercial teams to showcase efficacy directly to customers with video
- 15x as much throughput from downscaling experiments into microtiter plates
- 144 hours saved in 2 months
Just as importantly, with the help of the Reshape platform, they’ve been able to reduce the consumption of reagents and plastic by 30 kg per month with the new assay, driving their continued innovation as one of the most sustainable companies in the world.
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