Introduction to Biochemical Engineering

Course Overview

Page by Jamie Prior

The purpose of this project is to provide an overview of the course. It is aimed at both students who are taking the course and those who think they may be interested in taking it. The concepts are all briefly outlined and are written for people who may not have any background knowledge of biochemical engineering in another page. I have added numerous links to the concepts page so you can easily go to the actual pages where each concept is discussed for more information. I apologize for the number of links, but I really think it will make your lives easier when reading it.

To get to the Concepts Page

The best way to incorporate all of the ideas taught in the course is to look at the thought process involved in designing a theoretical bioreactor and fermentation process. Below are a series of questions that you should be able to answer, or at least think about by the end of the course. After each question is a button that will take you to another page that explains each question in more detail.

  1. The first step in designing any kind of biochemical process is to ask what kind of process we are going to run. Is it a waste treatment process for an environmental engineer, or is it a biochemical fermentation? If it is a biochemical process, is it a simple bioconversion such as converting glucose to ethanol, or is it a cell culture that we are trying to grow.

  2. One very important requirement for running any type of process is the equipment that is needed for it to run in. How big is the process going to be, are we running something on a small scale for analysis, or is it running at full scale production? Does the process require large amounts of aeration or is it anaerobic? MORE

  3. Once we have determined what kind of process we are running, the type of reactor needs to be selected. Is it going to be operated in a batch, fed batch, continuous, or some other type of reactor. What type you choose may or may not depend on the specific process chosen to run.

  4. One of the things that must be done before any bioprocess can run is sterilization. The reactor itself is pretty easily sterilized using steam, but the fermentation medium, along with everything else added to the reactor must also be sterilized. The question is which sterilization method to use? Are the nutrients or the contaminant organisms highly resistant to heat? You can also ask how important sterilization is to the process, how many foreign organisms will ruin the run?

This page is off to a great start, but it could use some improvement to make it a bit more exciting. A suggestion for a future term project could be to add some more to these pages such as figures and examples that would make it more interesting.

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This page created by Jamie Prior, Fall 1998