Sunday, August 30, 2009

Understanding Bio-Process Engineering

Bioprocess engineering is the subdiscipline within biotechnology that is responsible for translating life-science discoveries into practical products, processes, or systems capable of serving the needs of society. It is critical in moving newly discovered bioproducts into the hands of the consuming public. The bioprocess engineer has many missions. Although the most visible today is the production of biopharmaceuticals, bioprocess engineering also has a major role in the existing fermentation industries responsible for the production of ethanol, amino acids and other organic acids, antibiotics, and other specialty products.

Bioprocessing in space presents unique opportunities, particularly in bioregenerative life support and as a research platform for the study of new types of manufacturing processes.

Bioprocessing for protection and beneficiation of the environment represents another large and important opportunity. Biological processes could offer alternatives to environmentally polluting or fossil-fuel-consuming manufacturing processes and could help to remove toxic pollutants from industrial and municipal wastes. Bioremediation's promise is in its potentially lower cost, compared with other types of technology for cleaning up the environment.

Role of bio-process engineering:
The role of bio-process engineering in the successful commercialization of biotechnology is not fully understood by our national government, industrial, and academic leadership. That is in large measure because first-generation biopharmaceutical products have been successfully produced with only secondary concern for costs of manufacturing. However, products now under development will require novel techniques and more efficient and economical processes. Hence, our participation in the expanding bio-products market will necessitate an expanded role of bio-process engineering. This is all the more important because bio-process engineering could have a profound effect on the existing fermentation industry.

Bio-process development for biopharmaceuticals involves all aspects of generating a safe, effective, and stable product. It begins with the biological system, continues with product isolation and purification, and finishes when the product is placed in a stable, efficacious, and convenient form. The product is initially derived either directly or indirectly from a living organism. Thus, process development starts with the development of the biological system. It is usually a living organism that expresses the desired protein; but it might be an enzyme for protein modification or an antibody for immunoaffinity purification. RDNA and hybridoma technology allow the biological system to be optimized for maximal formation of the product, for facilitation of downstream processing, for high product quality, and for improved interaction with the production equipment. In this phase of bio-process engineering, many disciplines must be applied, including molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, analytical chemistry, and bio-process engineering. Thus, engineers become full partners with experts trained in the bioscience disciplines in developing and scaling up manufacturing technology for biopharmaceuticals.

Tags: Bio Technology, Bio Genetics, Bio Process Engineering

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