MICROscale downstream processing TOOLbox for Screening and process development


RESULTS of MICROTOOLS: Presentation can be found here.

Project coordinator
- Dr Nicolas Szita - University College London (UCL) - United Kingdom
Project leaders
- Bent Svanholm - Svanholm.com, Vordingborg - Denmark
- Senior Lecturer Dr. Sc. Techn. Nicholas Szita - University College London (UCL), Department of Biochemical Engineering - UK
- Prof. Dr. Ing. Dan Caşcaval - “Gheorghe Asachi” Technical University of Iaşi (TUI),  Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Environmental Protection, Iaşi - Romania
- Prof.univ.dr.ing. Anca-Irina Galaction - “Grigore T.Popa” University of Medicine and Pharmacy Iaşi (UMPI),  Faculty of Medical Bioengineering, Iaşi - Romania
- Associate Professor Krist, V. Gernaey - Technical University of Denmark (DTU) - Denmark

Biocatalysis can replace traditional chemical catalysis based procesess resulting in a greener production process. However, the reaction step of such a biocatalysis process needs to be integrated with one or several purification steps to recover products and/or remove inhibitory substances. The economical feasibility of a bio-based process is typically dependent to a large extent on the efficiency and the cost of the subsequent separation steps. Consequently, a series of separation process candidates have to be investigated with the purpose of achieving the most efficient downstream processing configuration. The more rapidly such an investigation can be conducted, the faster critical decisions about economical feasibility of a bio-based process can be taken, and the faster one can bring a product on the market.  The main objective of this project is to establish a microscale downstream processing toolbox which can be used for rapid and high content screening or for process development.
The following main results are expected to be obtained:   

  • New and existing building blocks of a miniaturised downstream processing toolbox will be developed, standardized and evaluated. The toolbox will include separation processes based on extraction, pervaporation, adsorption, absorption and membrane technology.    
  • The toolbox will be supplemented by advanced on-line measurements and rational experimentation protocols for rapid and accurate generation of data for downstream process characterization and development..  
  • Scaling-up of the results obtained with the miniaturised downstream processing toolbox will be evaluated on the basis of lab-scale and pilot-scale experiments.  
  • Separation process sequences will be developed for two challenging and industrially relevant case studies (transketolase, transaminase) in order to demonstrate the practical applicability of the miniaturised downstream processing toolbox.

At the end of the project, the toolbox will be useful for biocatalysis process development in general. Thus, the application potential is enormous, for example in view of the current focus on integrating biocatalysis in traditional chemical reaction sequences. Indeed, due to the relatively small scale of the equipment, the toolbox will be useful and affordable both for industry and academia.