A bench-top, parallel 8 bioreactor platform for optimizing the sustainable production of pharmaceuticals, biologics, materials, fuels and foods

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Bioengineering


Engineering Biology is an area of research that has been developed in the past 20 years. During this time, new technologies have been created that allow us to engineer cells with desired capabilities. Now, we are entering the next phases of synthetic biology where these new technologies can be applied to create new more sustainable bioprocesses. One example of applications is the use of engineered cells, either mammalian or microbial to produce molecules of interest. Among the molecules that can be produced by cells we find chemicals, materials, foods, pharmaceuticals and fuels, which can be produced in a more sustainable way. Cells can also be fed by waste, coming from our cities, agricultural practices or industries, therefore contributing to our transition to a zero-waste bioeconomy.
In this project we aim to help the transition from lab to market of synthetic biology enabled technologies, in particular those linked to bioproduction. For that, we propose the creation of a benchtop bioreactor facility at Imperial College, that can be used to explore industrial-like conditions in the lab and allow the optimisation and evaluation of the potential of the processess, before going to large scale, expensive and scarce bioreactors. This facility, located in the managaed Facility of Microbiology hosted in the Department of Bioengineering will be available to both internal and external users from academia an industry.

Technical Summary

In this project, we would like to obtain a BioXplorer 100 a bench-top, parallel 8 bioreactor platform, to create a precision fermentation facility at Imperial College London.
These particular bioreactors allow working in the smaller volume possible while keeping all the same functionalities as the large-scale, industrial bioreactors. This enables the testing and application of 8 processes in parallel in a reduced space. This equipment is especially well suited for research and early stages of process development, which is a capability highly sought by academics who want to explore spin-out of technologies and companies looking for proof of concepts and technology validation. Interestingly, these bioreactors use glass vessels, which makes them fully recyclable and plastic-less, making their use both more environmentally sustainable and affordable. The bioreactor facility will be hosted in the Department of Bioengineering and will be open for both internal and external users, who will be able to cost their use in BBSRC and other funder grant applications. In addition, the facility will be open to industrial users, which have already shown a high degree of interest in this proposal.


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