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Institute of Bio- and Geosciences

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Research

Bioprocesses

Grafic bioprocessesFigure: Pilot scale bioreactor for cultivating microorganism such as Corynebacterium glutamicum under industrially relevant conditions. The underlying phenotypes of specific producer strains, e.g. for the amino acid L-valine, can be made accessible by application of metabolic flux analysis.

The research activities of the Bioprocesses and Bioanalytics group are focused on the characterization and optimization of microbial bioprocesses, applying bioprocess and metabolic engineering principles including aspects of downstream processing and metabolic modeling. Current activities concentrate on production systems for low and high molecular weight products (e.g. amino acids, organic acids, antibiotics, ketoacids, lipases, proteases, etc) utilizing pro- and eukaryotic microbial systems, such as Corynebacterium glutamicum, Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus licheniformis, Eschericha coli, Gluconobacter oxydans, Penicillium sp. and Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Besides routine applications of parallel bioreactor setups for bioprocess development the group operates a pilot plant facility (300 L scale) for scale-up approaches. In addition, we have developed a medium throughput cultivation platform making use of a microtiterplate cultivation platform which can be operated in combination with a liquid handling robotic system for significantly increased cultivation throughput.






Bioanalytics

In order to gain a more detailed insight into the cell’s metabolism, we are concerned with the development of technical, experimental and analytical methods for the identification and targeted quantification of extra- and intracellular metabolites (Metabolomics), proteins (Proteomics) and fluxes (Fluxomics). For measurement of polar and ionic metabolites as well as proteins belonging to central carbon metabolism, a highly sensitive LC-ESI-MS/MS platform is used. Detailed qualitative analyses of a broad spectrum of metabolites ranging from unipolar to ionic compounds is performed by GC-TOF-MS with accurate mass detection for structural identification of unknown sample peaks. The group has a long tradition in the development of automated fast sampling technologies at sub-second time scale to monitor fast metabolic changes due to external perturbations, e.g. pulse addition of unlabeled and 13C-labeled substrates. The available analytical platform is also able to measure the labeling state of metabolites (13C mass isotopomer data) which is a prerequisite for 13C-metabolic flux analysis.





The Bioprocesses and Bioanalytics group consists of bio(techno)logists, chemists, engineers and technicians working successfully as an interdisciplinary research team. The group has vital cooperations with the groups at IBG-1 more oriented towards Molecular Biology especially regarding iterative strain construction and optimization in metabolic engineering. In addition the group maintains fruitful synergistic relationships to the Modeling and Simulation group at IBG-1 with respect to metabolic network modeling, software development and visualization strategies for enhanced data evaluation and interpretation.


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