16. September 2014
RWTH Aachen, Aachen Germany

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AVT-Biochemical Engineering, RWTH Aachen University, Germany

The AVT.BioVT was founded in 1996 by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jochen Büchs. Over the course of time, the Chair has developed a unique portfolio of new methods and techniques for the development of innovative biotechnological processes. The AVT.BioVT cooperates with other universities, research institutes as well as leading companies within Germany and around the world.

Main research areas:

  • Characterization of shaken culture systems
  • Fermentation technology
  • Development of new methods for online process monitoring at all (bioreactor) scales

Until recently, the handling of shaken bioreactors was primarily based on empirical research. The AVT.BioVT has contributed significantly to an increased understanding of the cultivation conditions in microtiter plates and shaken flasks. The acquired knowledge from process monitoring and bioreactor characterization is supposed to simplify the scale-up to the future production scale. The development and commercialization of several online monitoring tools for shake flasks and microtiter plates are main achievements of the AVT.BioVT. These include RAMOS (Respiration Activity MOnitoring System), COSBIOS (Continuously Operated Shaken BIOreactor System), and BioLector devices. In addition, techniques for fed-batch operations for small-scale cultures (e.g. FeedBeads, FeedPlates, SmartPlates) have been developed. Another successful commercialization is the so-called Flowerplate, a screening platform, which allows for the same oxygen transfer rates as in large scale fermenters.

An additional research field of the AVT.BioVT is the development of advanced process strategies for stirred tank fermentations. An important device in this research area is a unique bioreactor with a working volume of 50 L, pressure resistance of up to 10 bar, equipped with a calorimeter, a torque measurement device for the evaluation of the specific power input and several other measurement systems for process monitoring. This pressure fermenter enables the cultivation of fast-growing microorganisms with high biomass densities (> 100 g/L) without any limitation of the oxygen transfer rate (OTR). The development of fermentation integrated product recovery is investigated in collaboration with other AVT chairs.

The AVT.BioVT has many years of experience in enzyme catalysis. After founding of the Chair of Enzyme Process Technology (AVT.EPT), the AVT.BioVT has shifted its research to whole cell biotransformation in solvent-based two-phase systems.

Group members: 29 coworkers (including 20 doctoral candidates), ~50 students (B.Sc. and M.Sc. students, student assistants)

AVT-Biochemical Engineering