Optimization and scale-up of fermentative production

In addition to mild reaction conditions and high specificity, the biotechnological production of platform chemicals and biosurfactants also offers the advantage of using substrates based on renewable raw materials. The variety of products is almost inexhaustible due to the multitude of different microorganisms. Furthermore, products that are difficult to access through chemical synthesis can also be obtained. Our research group has established processes for the bioproduction of organic acids such as malic and itaconic acid as well as furan and other dicarboxylic acids.

Furthermore, we have many years of expertise in the production of microbial biosurfactants. Various fungi of the genera Ustilago sp. and Pseudozyma sp. secrete the biosurfactants mannosylerythritollipide (MEL) and cellobioselipid (CL) naturally, so that these can be extracted from the nutrient medium. Characterizations of various MEL and CL variants showed a broad application potential, e.g. as cleaning agents, in cosmetics or as emulsifiers.

In our laboratories we establish fermentation processes for bacteria and yeast cultivation from laboratory to pilot plant scale. We also use dimension-analytical scale transfer to design fermentations on a pilot scale. These highly scaled processes can be carried out in our own pilot plant at Fraunhofer CBP or at project partners and customers. Whenever possible, we use renewable raw materials such as lignocellulose-based sugar solutions or vegetable oils as substrates in the culture medium.

Range of services

  • Selection and optimization of biocatalysts
  • Development of suitable conversion processes on a laboratory scale
  • Transfer of the conversion process to the pilot plant to m³ scale

In process development we consider all relevant parameters, such as temperature, pO2, OUR, CER and RQ or the composition of the medium and establish perfectly balanced mineral salt media and feeding strategies (repeated-batch, fed-batch or continuous cultivation). Based on a statistical evaluation of all process parameters, we first transfer the optimum process from the shaking flask to the fermenter (scale-over) and then to the pilot plant and pilot scale (scale-up). The purification of the products is also optimized.

Research topics

Biosurfactants – Production and optimization

Long-chain dicarboxylic acids from plant oils

Organic acids

Malic acid, xylonic acid, itaconic acid, furan dicarboxylic acid