Some substances and products are quite hard or impossible to produce chemically. On top of that, many people don’t like the fact that their food, drugs and other things are made chemically,

Well luckily, there is a way to kill two birds with one stone. The answer lies in the field of bioprocessing. A bioprocess is a specific process, in which you use whole cells or their organelles to produce some desired product. Since many substances we use for medicine or food were originally found produced by other organisms in nature, why not let them do that for us as well? 

They are the ones who came up with the “production lines”, they are the ones who do it best. The easiest way for us to get these substances without (too much) artificial interference is to find a way to make the organisms and cells do what we want them to do.


Starting off we needed some kind of a container to keep the producers in. Enter bioreactors.

Traditionally a cylindrical bowl with enough space to contain the cells and a sophisticated way to imitate the natural conditions for the cells to produce our product. Just like in nature, except it’s on somebody’s desk in a lab. Whilst in nature the environmental conditions change unpredictably, this way of cultivation lets us control the temperature, nutrient ratio and availability, moisture, amount of oxygen etc. All-in-all it’s a win-win situation.

Picture 1: F1 bioreactor system by Bionet

Picture 1: F1 bioreactor system by Bionet


This way of cultivating cells or organisms enables you to keep the production consistent (in theory, at least) which gives us the opportunity to produce a bigger amount of desired substances. Below you can find some industries, which use the bioprocessing to make products:

  • cosmetics 
  • fuel
  • pharmaceuticals
  • chemicals
  • nutraceuticals
  • polymers
  • paper
  • food
  • animal feed

 Picture 2: Bacteria with flagella

Picture 2: Bacteria with flagella


The whole process, from start to finish, is usually divided in two parts; upstream and downstream bioprocessing. Pharsol provides equipment for both. Upstream bioprocesses include:

  • inoculum development, 
  • media development, 
  • improvement of inoculum by genetic engineering, 
  • optimization of growth kinetics

Essentially, upstream bioprocessing is the part of a bioprocess where we inoculate, grow and multiply our cell culture, up to the point where we can harvest our product.

Downstream bioprocessing is what comes after the harvest. The goal is to get the desired substance separated from the cells and purify it. Roughly, the downstream process can be divided into the following (for specific processes this may vary):

  • separation of biomass
  • cell disruption
  • concentration of broth
  • initial purification of metabolites
  • de-watering
  • polishing of metabolites


Picture 3: A bottle of fish-oil edible pills

Picture 3: A bottle of fish-oil edible pills


When all of this is completed, the produced substance is market-ready and can be shipped out to customers.

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