Bioprocess Engineering Definition, Types, Uses

Bioprocess Engineering 

Bioprocess engineering involves the design of, operation, management, and optimizing biochemical processes that involve different biological pathways, or reactions that are mediated through living cells from plants, animals and microorganisms as well as enzymes in controlled conditions to facilitate the efficient biotransformation process of raw materials into a variety of goods at the appropriate scale.

The substance could be utilized directly in the form of food, medicine, or industrial compounds or through bioprocessing without direct product creation for treatment of industrial wastes, or the treatment of effluents from factories.


To produce fermented food, microorganisms were used since the beginning of time. Since the time, new bio-processes have been invented to make of a wide range of products for commercial use, ranging from inexpensive to costly specific chemicals like pharmaceutical proteins, antibiotics, and vaccines.

Definition of Bioprocessiing

A bioprocess is a particular procedure that makes use of the entire living cell or its constituents (e.g. enzymes, bacteria and chloroplasts) to produce desired products.

The transportation of mass and energy is an essential part of many biological and environmental processes. Aspects ranging that range from food processing (including beer brewing) to the thermal design of structures to biomedical devices, production of monoclonal antibodies, to control pollution, as well as global warming, require an understanding of how mass and energy can be transferred through different substances (momentum or heat transfer and so on. ).


Objectives Bioprocess Engineering 

  • Know the fundamentals of microbial kinetics, metabolism assays, and energetics.
  • Learn the fundamentals of bioreactor design and engineering, with a solid understanding regarding the design and operation fermentation processes.
  • Develop skills in bioengineering to create and purify of biochemical products using integrated biochemical processes.

Types of Bioprocess Engineering 

Bioprocess engineering is therefore the foundation of the biotechnology industry . It converts the research and development of the industries. It is split into three sections according to the process

  1. Upstream processing
  2. Cell bioprocessing 
  3. Downstream processing

Cell bioprocessing

Cell therapy bioprocessing is a field that connects the areas of bioprocessing and cell therapy (i.e. manufacturing biopharmaceuticals) and is a subfield of bioprocess engineering. The objective of cell therapy bioprocessing is to create reliable and stable manufacturing techniques for the creation of therapy cells. Bioprocesses that are commercially viable are:

  • Produce products that meet all the standards of quality of biopharmaceutical products
  • Commercial and clinical quantities of therapeutic cells at the different phases of the development. The manufacturing processes and technologies should be scalable and
  • The control of the cost of good (CoGs) for the finished drug. This aspect is essential in the development of an economically viable business.

Upstream bioprocessing

  • The manufacturing of therapeutic cells are separated into downstream processes and upstream processes.
  • The process of upstream can be described as the complete process that begins with the isolation of the first cells and cultivation to the cell banking and expansion of cells to the harvest (termination of the cultivation process and the collecting the live cells).
  • Apart from the technical challenges regarding the capacity of culture equipment, a range of supply-related risks to raw materials have been identified in recent years and include supply of GMP quality bovine fetal serum.
  • The upstream in bioprocess is the initial step where cells or microbes are created, e.g. mammalian or bacterial cells (see cells culture) in bioreactors.
  • Processing in the upstream phase includes all processes involved in developing inoculum and media development, as well as the improvement of the inoculum through genetic engineering processes, as well as optimizing growth kinetics, so that the quality of product development can increase significantly.
  • Fermentation can be divided into two parts that are downstream and upstream.
  • After the product is developed, the next step is to purify the product for the desired quality. Once they have reached the density desired (for batch and fed-batch strains) they are harvested and then moved into the downstream part in the process.

Upstream bioprocessing Steps

Upstream bioprocesses include:

  • inoculum development,
  • media development.
  • enhancement of the inoculum through genetic engineering.
  • Optimization of growth the kinetics of growth.

Downstream bioprocessing

The downstream portion of a bioprocess is the stage where cells mass of the upstream is processed to satisfy the requirements for purity and quality. Downstream processing is usually split into three distinct sections that include the cell disruption and purification section, and polishing section. The volatile components are separated through distillation of the culture without any pretreatment. Distillation can be performed at lower pressure in continuous stills. When pressure is reduced distillation of the product direct from the fermentor is possible.


Downstream bioprocessing Steps

The steps of downstream processing are:

  1. Separation of biomass: separating the biomass (microbial cells) is generally carried out by centrifugation or ultra-centrifugation. When the material is biomass it is then reclaimed for processing , and the spent media is discarded. In the event that it is cellular, the biomass is eliminated. Ultra filtration is a possible alternative to centrifugation.
  2. Cell disruption: When the product you want to release is intracellular, the cell’s biomass may be disrupted to ensure that the product can be released. The liquid-solid mixture is separated through centrifugation or filtration , and the cells are discarded.
  3. Concentration of broth: The used medium is concentrated if the outcome is extracellular.
  4. Initial purification of metabolites: In accordance with the physicochemical character of the product molecule , various methods to recover the product from clarified fermented broth were employed (precipitation or filtration, etc.)
  5. De-watering: When a small quantity of product is discovered in large quantities of waste material The volume is decreased by removing water and concentrating the product. It’s done through either vacuum drying or reverse osmosis.
  6. Polishing of metabolites: Polishing of metabolites is the final stage of making the product 100 percent pure. The purified substance is mixed with a variety of inert ingredients known as excipients. The finished product is packaged and then sold to be sold to consumers.

Use of Bioprocess Engineering 

This method used for cultivating organisms or cells allows you to ensure that the production remains consistent (in principle, at the very minimum) and can allow us to create a greater quantity of the substances we want. Below are a few industries that use bioprocessing method to produce products:

  • cosmetics 
  • fuel
  • pharmaceuticals
  • chemicals
  • nutraceuticals
  • polymers
  • paper
  • food
  • animal feed



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