90913 - Downstream Processes of Biological Molecules

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Docente: Cristiana Boi
  • Credits: 3
  • SSD: ING-IND/24
  • Language: English
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology (cod. 9068)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student acquires basic knowledge on the methodologies and technologies of the biotechnological process industry, for the recovery and purification of biotechnological pharmaceuticals, taking into account the route of administration and final formulation of the final product.

Course contents

Cell lysis: osmotic, chemical and mechanical methods. Sedimentation: equation of motion, equilibrium sedimentation. Centrifugation: description and use of different centrifuges. Sigma analysis. Protein precipitation: protein solubility (salting in and salting out), precipitate formation phenomena, design of precipitation systems. Filtration: conventional and cross flow filtration. Filter media and equipment. Membrane separation processes: classification based on the driving force, description and use of different membrane processes in biotechnology. Membrane modules: plate and frame, hollow fiber, tubular. Concentration polarization: film theory model. Microfiltration, ultrafiltration and diafiltration. Membrane fouling. Sterile filtration and filtration for virus removal. Liquid/liquid extraction: extraction with solvent, extraction in aqueous phase. Stage calculation. Adsorption: fundamental principles, equilibrium isotherms. Chromatography: process description, chromatographic techniques. Chromatography column dynamics: plate theory, column efficiency, Van Deemter equation, theory of adsorption chromatography.


R.G. Harrison, P. Todd, S. Rudge and D. Petrides, Bioseparations Science and Engineering, 2nd Ed. Oxford U. Press, NY, 2015.

P.M. Doran, Bioprocess Engineering Principles, 2nd Ed., Elsevier, 2013.

C. Gostoli, Trasporto di materia con elementi di reattoristica chimica e biochimica, Pitagora Editrice, Bologna, 2011.

Teaching methods

Class lectures and problem solving.

Assessment methods

The aim of the final examination (one for the whole course) is to evaluate the achievement of the main goals of the course, specifically:

- the capability to adopt suitable analysis and calculation techniques, which are presented during the course, in order to understand the working principles of the equipment and the basis design rules, in addition to the understanding of the chemical and physical phenomena occurring in equipment and processes of the chemical industry;

- the capability to use the outcomes obtained by the above analysis to improve the performances of equipment and processes of the chemical industry.

The final assessment will be via an oral exam. The goal of the exam is to ascertain the full understanding of both the basic principles and the design rules of equipment and processes considered during the course. 

A passing grade (greater than or equal to 18/30) can only be refused once.

Teaching tools

A combination of blackboard and slide projector according to the lecture topic.

Power point presentations that will be made available on Virtuale with access to University of Bologna students.

Office hours

See the website of Cristiana Boi