Biotechnological processes

The technical enzymes module is being integrated at the Fraunhofer CBP in order to permit research work on the development and scaling of biotechnological processes as well as the production of enzymes up to the pilot scale. Depending on the microorganism and the product, the complexity of biotechnological processes requires different methodological approaches for the upstream and downstream processing. The plant will therefore have a high degree of flexibility, as the various units can be connected and used as required.

The module incorporates bioreactors for various fermentation scales (upstream processing) of 10 L, 100 L, 300 L, 1 m³ and 10 m³.

For downstream processing of the microorganism and their products various units are available for the use of different methods:

  • Separator for cell separation
  • Homogenizer for cell breakdown
  • Micro/ultrafiltration plant for concentrating
  • Crystallization tank
  • Chromatography column for further product purificatio
  • Dry freezer and spray dryer for product preservation

The module is linked up with a microbiology lab, which permits the cultivation of microorganisms for seeding the fermenters and provides the analysis that accompanies the process.

Equipment

Fermentation

  • Fermentation of various microorganisms: reactor cascade with total volumes of 10, 100, 300, 1000 and 10,000 liters, equipped with four storage tanks each (acid, base, antifoaming agent, nutrition solution), comprehensive automation, measurement and control technology (rotation speed, temperature, head space pressure, pH value, dissolved oxygen, respiration, methanol concentration) 
  • Continuous sterilization of fermentation media
  • Bag-emptying unit and dispersing machine up to 1000 kg / h 
  • Production e.g. of organic solvents with the help of a fermenter designed to ATEX specifications (total volume: 75 L)
  • Continuous process control in fermentations by cell retention (sterilizable crossfow fitration plant)


Cultivation of microalgae

  • Fully automated pilot plant for the cultivation of microalgae (greenhouse and outdoor facility) based on fat-panel airlift reactor technology
  • Indoors: fve modules with fve 6-liter reactors each, fve modules with fve 30-liter reactors each, three modules with fve 180-liter reactors each – a total of 65 reactors with a capacity of 3.6 m3
  • Outdoors: one module with fve 180-liter reactors, four modules with ten 180-liter reactors each – a total of 45 reactors with a capacity of 8.1 m3


Enzymatic conversions 

  • Reactors for enzyme-catalyzed reactions (500 (mobile), 1300, 2000, 5000 and 10,000 liters, stirred, temperature-controlled)
  • Enzymatic hydrolysis / modification of fibers (tank with special stirrer configuration for high viscosities)


Product purifcation and finishing 

  • Harvest of the fermentation suspension as well as temporary storage of product solutions using stirred and temperature-controlled tanks of different dimensions 
  • Biomass separation (disk separators 1 – 2 m3 / h, 0.5 – 1 m3 / h, vacuum drum cell flter 0.5 m2 and fiter press 1.6 m2)
  • Cell disruption (homogenizer 0.4 m3 / h, 1,000 bar, optional with subsequent flow cooling)
  • Membrane filtration (MF / UF) for desalination and product concentration processes 20 / 17 m2 (0.2 µm / 10 kDa), 3 / 5 m2 (0.2 µm / 10 kDa, sterilizable) 
  • Fine purification using liquid chromatography (35-liter column volume) 
  • Crystallizers (180 liters, 800 liters) with downstream vacuum fiter dryer (0.5 m2) in ATEX version 
  • Spray (7 kg / h) and freeze drying (0.8 m2) for finishing the products


Analytical equipment

  • Laboratories for microbiological tests
  • Qualitative and quantitative methods to determine the optical density and cell dry mass, the concentration of sugars, alcohols and organic acids, protein analysis
  • Various assays for measuring enzyme activity
  • Online measurement of the alcohol concentration in the reactor and CO2 / O2 in the fermentation exhaust gas