Bioprocess and enzyme technology

Valuable biological products are obtained from microorganisms, cells, tissues and plants. When handled gently they keep their structure and functions intact. 

Bioprocess technology (BPT) comprises the practical methods needed for producing and isolating biomolecules, like proteins, both in the lab scale and in the industry. BPT converts product ideas to industrial reality.

Relevant courses:2BT201 Bioprocess Technology (autumn) and 2BT211 Industrial Biotechnology (spring).

Areas of research

  • Fermentation of microorganisms, anaerobic processing
  • Isolation of proteins and other biologicals, based on selective separation (adsorption, membranes, extraction)
  • Use of enzymes in biomass conversion (cellulases)
  • Optimization and simulation of enzyme and downstream processing.
Biotechnology students at Hedmark University College.

On extracting valuable proteins from biomass, we use technologies likeadsorption chromatography(packed and expanded bed adsorption),tangential flow filtration(TFF) and precipitation. We have extensively studied the isolation of potato proteins for use in food, so-called industrial proteins. The selectivity and high-salt tolerance of mixed mode adsorption resins simplify the capture of protein from by-product effluents. Protein purification is also applied to various biological materials (plant, blood, bacteria, rumen).

Enzyme technologyincludes research on lignocellulose degradation, aiming at releasing polysaccharides and sugars by enzymatic hydrolysis with cellulase and hemicellulase. Enzymes from ruminal animals foraging on cellulosic feed are specifically of interest as novel sources. Cellulases are also exploited in boosting biogas production in anaerobic digesters with high fiber content.

Any large scale isolation and separation of biologicals involve a logical sequence of process steps or unit operations, better known asdownstream processing (DSP). Locating the optimum conditions for fermentation, enzyme processing, chromatography, filtration, extraction etc., significantly improves the process outcome. In micro-scale setups ofDesign of Experiments (DoE), we carry out systematic screening and optimization of the critical variables of a unit operation. Simulation and mass balancing of bioprocess are carried out in SuperPro-software (Intelligen, Inc.).

Instrumentation

Äkta Pure L automated chromatography (GE Healthcare), bench and pilot scale columns for packed and expanded bed chromatography. TFF membrane units (50-1000cm2) in bench scale rig. Bioengineering KLF 3.7L fermentor. STR 1.2L Anaerobic digester. Freeze drying equipment. Various analytical instrumentation.

Bioprocess group

  • Professor Knut Olav Strætkvern
  • Labengineer Anne Bergljot Falck-Ytter
  • 2-3 second-year Masterstudents