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Automated Bioprocess Development
Biotechnology is one of the key industries of the 21st century. With its technologies the decrease of natural resources and the upcoming exhaustion of the oil deposits can be faced, for it is time to switch to environmental-friendly production processes.
However one of the main disadvantages of biotechnological processes is the amount of time needed to establish such a process. A new product has to be developed by extensive research before it can be released on the market.
In order to speed up the process, basic research that leads to this product must also include the development of a production process. Suitable microbial hosts have to be found at first. Then optimal cultivation conditions must be determined and finally scaling up for higher productivity is necessary.
This has furthermore driven innovations in the field of high-throughput screenings and bioprocess development. Those innovations include advances in the fieldof automated liquid handling systems, miniaturization and downstream processing among others. High throughput approaches have been applied to the discovery of new drugs or the parameter investigation for bioprocess development. Microwell plates are most frequently used, as they enable researchers to do many parallel experiments at once with their 6 to 1536-wells.
Robotics and automation play an important role in biotechnology to handle the ever growing amount of samples and compounds that need to be analyzed. This ability to conduct large screenings with minimal requirements is a key prerequisite in bioprocess development.
The automated bioprocess development workgroup focuses on current bottlenecks found in bioproduction industry. Novel procedures are applied to address
• screening of libraries (clones, expression strains, protein variants, compounds)
• characterization of producer strains
• downstream processing
• collecting and analysing of data
Current and future activities will focus on the development and implementation of miniaturized and automated modules as devices of the new technology platform.