The research of the HKI Bio Pilot Plant is focused on the development, optimization and scale-up of biotechnological processes.

  • Development and optimization of fermentation processes, downstream and product purification procedures and methods for the analysis of process parameters
  • Development of integrated biotechnological high-performance processes and the transfer to industrial applications including strain development and optimization
  • Fermentation under specific physiological conditions
    • anaerobic fermentation
    • Fermentation in the chemostat
    • High-cell-density fermentation for the synthesis of proteins and bio-polymers
  • Development of innovative technologies
    • Microfluidic platform for ultrahigh-throughput screening of natural products and enzymes
    • in vitro test systems for the study of microbial adhesion and biofilm formation
  • Our work is focused around bioelectrochemical systems and defined microbial mixed cultures. Specifically, our research interests are the investigation, understanding, and manipulation of microorganisms, of which some are in electrochemical interaction with electrodes and of inter-microbial relationships in these environments. While the overall goal of our efforts are the development and advancement of new biotechnological applications, we seek to uncover the biochemical and physiological principles of the microbial systems we use.

The research of the HKI Bio Pilot Plant is mainly focused on the development and optimization of biotechnological processes of natural product producers, including strain development and optimization. The Bio Pilot Plant offers in the German academic area unique opportunities for the cultivation of a wide spectrum of microorganisms (bacteria, lower and higher fungi, genetically modified organisms, safety group 1 and 2) from flask cultures via laboratory scale to pilot scale of 2.5 m³. For well-performed purifications of natural products, proteins and biopolymers all necessary purification processes and the appropriate technical equipment are available. The development of analytical methods is mainly focused on process parameters and the analysis of synthesized products. We are well experienced in the cultivation of microorganisms in the chemostat, anaerobic fermentation conditions, and fermentation at high cell densities. The establishment of a microfluidic platform for ultra-high-throughput-screening of natural products and enzymes is one example of the development of innovative technologies. The Bio Pilot Plant co-operate closely with the research departments of the HKI and groups of the Friedrich Schiller University and the Ernst Abbe University of Applied Sciences, Jena.