Biotechnological processes

The technical enzymes module is being integrated at 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. Therefore, the plant is characterized by 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 facilities include a central microbiological laboratory, two module-based technical centers of the Biosafety Level 1, one of which can be operated under ATEX conditions.



  • 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) as well as comprehensive automation, measurement and control technology (rotation speed, temperature, head space pressure, pH value, dissolved oxygen, respiration, methanol concentration)
  • UHT plant for the continuous sterilization of fermentation media
  • ATEX fermenter (total volume: 500 L) for conversion or production of highly flammable chemicals
  • Continuous process control in fermentations by cell retention (sterilizable crossflow filtration plant with automatic feed level control)
  • Online measurement of alcohol concentration in the reactor and of CO2/O2 in the fermentation exhaust gas

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 (500 (mobile) / 2,000 / 5,000 and 10,000 L)
  • Biomass separation (disk separators 0.5 – 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; feeding up to 500 kg/h; flexible use of spiral wound modules (material, cut-off)
  • Fine purification using liquid chromatography (35-liter column volume, flow rate up to 180 L/h) 
  • Crystallizers (180 L, 800 L) with downstream vacuum fiter dryer (0.5 m2) in ATEX version 
  • Spray (5 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