Biotechnology and Bioprocess Engineering

Bioprocess engineering is the discipline that puts biotechnology to work. Biotechnology involves using organisms, tissues, cells, or their molecular component

(1) to act on living things and

(2) to intervene in the workings of cells or the molecular components of cells, including their genetic material.

Biochemical manufacturing and bio separations have made it possible to purify products derived from biotechnology on a large scaleBiotechnology is defined by the tools used to practice it. By programming DNA and directing cellular machinery, we can obtain products that were unimaginable even 10 years ago. With biotechnology, we can direct the Nano scale machinery of living cells to produce self-contained factories that perform on a characteristic scale of one micron. To be useful to people, however, bio products and bioenergy must be produced in immense quantities. Genetic engineering, for example, is carried out at a molecular scale but is amplified through bioprocess engineering to transfer the technology from the test tube to the bottle through a sequence of integrated steps that generate, recover, purify and package the product (NRC, 1992). The challenge facing bioengineers is to redirect genetic and cellular machinery to make economically important molecules when the cells are placed in controlled environments. Engineers must design, build, and operate hardware and integrated systems that can multiply a cell’s output by a factor of one trillion, as well as recover and purify the products in a cost-effective manner. Bioprocess engineering is the next frontier.