Bioprocess development

The primary task of the Bio Pilot Plant is the process development and scaling of microbial systems. We regularly develop the process technology for the microbial synthesis of active compounds and value products, which have been discovered at HKI. We then provide these compounds for further scientific analyses and to enable functional testing.  But we also collaborate with external partners from industry and academia to support them in translating their fundamental microbial discoveries onto a new level towards biotechnological application. For this purpose, we can realize the entire process chain from the microbial substrate to the purified final product in liter to m³ scale.


The instrumentation of the Bio Pilot Plant allows for the scaling of bioprocesses from µL-microtiter plates to m³-stirred tank reactors. It includes two „BioLector“-units for screening in microtiter plates as well as a droplet-based microfluidic screening platform, for the targeted cultivation, investigation, and screening of microbial pure and co-cultures. For process development and process scaling to obtain larger amounts of targets compounds if necessary, we are equipped with numerous stirred tank bioreactors up to 4.5 m³ volume, which can be operated in batch, fed-batch, parallel, continuous or cascade mode.

For downstream purification, centrifuges, plate separators, membrane modules, rectification and distillation columns, rotating evaporators etc., as well as various chromatographic procedures are available. A broad spectrum of extraction processes can be realized in special explosion proof rooms.

The Bio Pilot Plant is operated by an experienced team of technicians, engineers and scientists.

Research focus

At the moment, the majority of our processes are aerobic pure culture systems. In future, we will increasingly also work with anaerobic bioprocesses and defined mixed cultures. Additionally, viscous bioprocesses, no matter if because of a viscous product, filamentous growth or a solid fibrous substrate, are of special interest. 



Patrick Berthel
Michael Cyrulies
Lucy Eichhorn
Uwe Knüpfer
Gudrun Krauter
Karin Martin
Michael Meyer
Gundela Peschel
Lars Regestein
Jan Schönemann
Matthias Steinacker
Karsten Willing


Schmitz A, Kehraus S, Schäberle TF, Neu E, Almeida C, Roth M, König GM (2014) Corallorazines from the myxobacterium Corallococcus coralloides. J Nat Prod 77(1), 159-163.
Schütze E, Klose M, Merten D, Nietzsche S, Senftleben D, Roth M, Kothe E (2014) Growth of streptomycetes in soil and their impact on bioremediation. J Hazard Mater 267, 128-135.
Biermann M, Bardl B, Vollstädt S, Linnemann J, Knüpfer U, Seidel G, Horn U (2013) Simultaneous analysis of the non-canonical amino acids norleucine and norvaline in biopharmaceutical-related fermentation processes by a new ultra-high performance liquid chromatography approach. Amino Acids 44(4), 1225-1231.
Biermann M, Linnemann J, Knüpfer U, Vollstädt S, Bardl B, Seidel G, Horn U (2013) Trace element associated reduction of norleucine and norvaline accumulation during oxygen limitation in a recombinant Escherichia coli fermentation. Microb Cell Fact 12, 116.
Cao J, Kürsten D, Krause K, Kothe E, Martin K, Roth M, Köhler JM (2013) Application of micro-segmented flow for two-dimensional characterization of the combinatorial effect of zinc and copper ions on metal-tolerant Streptomyces strains. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 97(20), 8923-8930.
Scherlach K, Sarkar A, Schroeckh V, Dahse HM, Roth M, Brakhage AA, Horn U, Hertweck C (2011) Two induced fungal polyketide pathways converge into antiproliferative spiroanthrones. Chembiochem 12(12), 1836-1839.
Huang X, He J, Niu X, Menzel KD, Dahse HM, Grabley S, Fiedler HP, Sattler I, Hertweck C (2008) Benzopyrenomycin, a cytotoxic bacterial polyketide metabolite with a benzo[a]pyrene-type carbocyclic ring system. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl 47(21), 3995-3998.
Li L, Sattler I, Deng Z, Groth I, Walther G, Klaus-Dieter Menzel G, Peschel S, Grabley W, Lin (2008) A-seco-oleane-type triterpenes from Phomopsis sp. (strain HKI0458) isolated from the mangrove plant Hibiscus tiliaceus. Phytochemistry 69(2), 511-517.
Li LY, Ding Y, Groth I, Menzel KD, Peschel G, Voigt K, Deng ZW, Sattler I, Lin WH (2008) Pyrrole and indole alkaloids from an endophytic Fusarium incarnatum (HKI00504) isolated from the mangrove plant Aegiceras corniculatum. J Asian Nat Prod Res 10(7-8), 765-770.
Li YQ, Huang XS, Ishida K, Maier A, Kelter G, Jiang Y, Peschel G, Menzel KD, Li MG, Wen ML, Xu LH, Grabley S, Fiebig HH, Jiang CL, Hertweck C, Sattler I (2008) Plasticity in gilvocarcin-type C-glycoside pathways: discovery and antitumoral evaluation of polycarcin V from Streptomyces polyformus. Org Biomol Chem 6(19), 3601-3605.