NPIF Mass Spectrometry as a Tool for Real-Time Fermentation Monitoring

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Sch of Biological Sciences


The aim of this project is to develop an automated system of sampling and measurement of fermentation processes using mass spectrometry in real-time capable of analysing intracellular and extracellular metabolites. Secondly, the information gathered with this system would be used to improve one or multiple industrial processes of at least one specific industrial partner, Ingenza Ltd., which works in collaboration with the project. Thirdly, this technology will also be applied to try and detect deviations from acceptable operational windows, commonly defined in industrial set-ups. More specifically, it will be studied if perturbations and process spoilage can be detected and anticipated with this technology. Finally, computational work will be done in order to present the acquired data in an informative way, such as in a software with a user-friendly layout that microbiologists and fermentation scientists could use. If possible, the mass spectrometry data will be processed in real-time so that control systems could be used to feed back into the fermentation, thus improving the process performance and preventing the spoilage of otherwise faulty runs. This application is for an institutional transfer from another university and, therefore, some work has already been done on this project. To this moment, proof of concept data has successfully been generated coupling a high-resolution Orbitrap mass spectrometer to a bench top glass fermenter using an industrial case-study process to generate a platform chemical using the industrial workhorse Escherichia coli. In the near future, the system will be assessed with other biotechnological common hosts such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae or mammalian cell lines, thus expanding the relevance of the project to many other applications for industrial biotechnology.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/R505523/2 01/06/2019 31/03/2022
2251794 Studentship BB/R505523/2 01/03/2019 31/12/2021 Joan Cortada Garcia