66210 - Bioreactors and Unit Operations in Biotechnology M

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

The purpose of this course is to present and discuss the main tools for the understanding of the performance of equipment and plants in the biochemical and bioprocess industry. Both the general structure of a plant and selected units operations and bioreactors typical of biotechnological processes are covered in order to provide skills for a quantitative, though simplified, prediction of their behaviour.

Course contents

Technological issues in the design of bioprocesses.

Bioreactors: geometrical configurations and fluid dynamic characteristics of stirred bioreactors, interactions between cells and turbulent eddies, rheological properties of fermentation broths, determination of main global parameters, scale-up. Bubbles columns and airlift reactors. Modes of reactor operations. Oxygen transfer in aerobic reactions: sparging devices, oxygen uptake rate and oxygen transfer rate. Foam formation and control.

Heat transfer equipment: design and scale up considerations. Heat sterilization.  

Unit operations for bioseparations: liquid-liquid extraction, filtration, centrifugation, precipitation, crystallization.



  • Pauline M. Doran – Bioprocess Engineering Principles – Second Edition, Academic Press, 2013
  • Raja Ghosh – Principles of bioseparation engineering – World scientific, 2006.

[Though warmly recommended to the students for widening their knowledge of the various topics, these books are not formally adopted as textbooks nor followed in a detailed way].

Teaching methods

The lessons and solution of exercises in class, according to the official timetable.

Assessment methods

The final examination is oral. The exam is aimed at assessing the understanding of the fundamental principles on which the design and the functioning of both the bioreactors and the separation operations are based. Moreover, the capability to identify the most suitable bioreactor configuration depending the specific operation and to critically discuss a particular operating condition or a design problem of both bioreactors and bioseparation operations will be verified.

Teaching tools

Video projector, blackboard. Syllabus, tables, plots and text of exercise: distributed in class during the course.

Office hours

See the website of Giuseppina Montante