alexa Bioprocessing Applications | OMICS International | Journal Of Bioprocessing And Biotechniques

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Bioprocessing-applications

Bioprocesses have severed as an important means to support survival and fulfill different needs for thousands of years in the human history. Early bioprocesses (ca. 4000 BC) employed natural microorganisms, such as yeasts and fungi, to produce different products, including bread, beer, and cheese. The first purification step was ethanol distillation carried out around 2000 BC. With advances in science and engineering, bioprocesses increases in both production scale and complexity with integrated processing steps. In addition to nature microorganisms, modern bioprocesses also use other agents, e.g. enzymes and cells from plants, insects, and animals, to produce various products, including organic acids, antibiotics, and therapeutic compounds. Bioprocesses are developed by combining different basic steps (or “unit operations”, introduced by Arthur D. Little in 1915), such as fermentation, filtration and drying. For decades, scaling up from a benchtop system via a pilot plant to a full-blown factory has been the standard practice of the development of industrial-scale bioprocesses. However, it is faced with challenges from the more stringent requirements, such as size and cost reductions in equipment, lower energy consumption and waste emission, and a safer operation environment, due to the new trend of using sustainable production schemes in bioprocesses. To address these challenges, an approach called “process intensification” has been used to improve bioprocesses. It focuses on developing new equipment and methods that leads to more cost-effective and sustainable bioprocesses. Since its debut in the 90's , microfluidics has made significant progress through the piling up research results. It has found many biological applications, such as gene/protein manipulation and analysis, cell-based systems, biosensors, and drug discovery and delivery. Microfluidic devices have recently come into attention as a powerful tool for bioprocess intensification because of their low fabrication costs and reagent consumption, small form factors for safe operation in a controlled environment, and capability of integrate multiple basic steps onto one chip. A lot of work has been directed to the development of microreactors for enzymatic reactions (e.g. hydrolysis, esterification, oxidation/reduction, and polymerization). For downstream processing, microfluidic devices have been used to develop systems for separation of cells and purification of therapeutic compounds. The results so far are very promising for miniaturized bioprocesses. More information on the miniaturization of bioprocesses can be found in the literature. [Roger C Lo: Application of Microfluidics in Bioprocesses.]
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Last date updated on June, 2014

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