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Products of Biochemical Engineering. How long ago?. Sumerians and Babylonians were brewing before 6000 BC (evidence in pyramids) Egyptians “let my people go” were baking before 4000 BC Distilleries? 14 th C. Ancient biotechnologies. vinegar for fries... acetic acid bacteria

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how long ago
How long ago?
  • Sumerians and Babylonians were brewing before 6000 BC (evidence in pyramids)
  • Egyptians “let my people go” were baking before 4000 BC
  • Distilleries? 14th C.
ancient biotechnologies
Ancient biotechnologies
  • vinegar for fries... acetic acid bacteria
  • lactic acid to acidify milk... yogurt
  • cheese to stabilize milk... bacteria and molds
industrial age
Industrial age
  • glycerol fermentation developed by german biochemist Carl Neuberg during WW1
  • butanol/acetone fermentation developed by chemist Chaim Weizmann using Clostridium acetobutylicum
  • folk medicine: moldy cheese, meat, bread, soybeans, grains
  • Tyndall, Pasteur, Roberts noted antagonistic effects of one organism on another... 1870’s
alexander fleming
Alexander Fleming
  • noted that Penicillium notatum contaminant killed culture of Staphylococcus aureus (1928)
  • penicillin production reality in 1941
  • prepared in highly dilute, impure and unstable solutions prior to WWII
  • up to 1943, batch purification process that inactivated up to 65%
  • Shell chemical engineers build pilot plant that processed 750 L broth/day with 85% recovery
more on penicillin
more on penicillin
  • 1943 – 4,100 patients/month
  • 1944 – 250,000 patients/month
  • MIT chemical engineers built first production plant involving freeze drying technologies in 1942/43
bugs on steroids
Bugs on steroids?
  • the superbug: td = 10 to 15 min
classes of industrial microbes
Classes of industrial microbes
  • bacteria
  • molds (fungi)
  • yeast (fungi)
  • actinomycetes
  • Procaryotes – nuclear region, single strand of ds-DNA
    • bacteria, actinomycetes, blue-green algae
  • Eucaryotes – nucleus, multiple chromosomes
other industrial cultures
Other industrial cultures
  • tissue culture: mammalian, insect...
  • plant tissue culture
classes of products
Classes of products
  • Microbial cells
  • Large molecules (104 – 106 daltons)
  • Primary metabolites (essential for growth)
  • Secondary metabolites (who knows why?)
microbial cells
Microbial cells
  • single cell protein
  • yeasts used in brewing, baking
microbial cells1
Microbial cells
  • cells used in bioconversion, biotransformation reactions
    • ethanol --- acetic acid (Babylon, 5000 BC)
    • isopropanol --- acetone
    • sorbitol --- sorbose (manufacture of vit.C)
    • steroid transformations
    • fumarate --- malate
large molecules
Large molecules
  • enzymes as catalysts
    • amylases in brewing, baking, textiles
    • proteases in brewing, meat tenderizing, detergents, leather (rennin)
enzymes as catalysts
Enzymes as catalysts
  • ambient T and P (low energy)
  • water solvent
  • few side reactions (no by-products)
  • highly specific for substrate
  • high yields possible
  • costly and can be unstable
  • difficult to separate and reuse

High fructose corn syrup

corn starch (α1,4 glucose)

liquefaction (α-amylase)

soluble dextrins


saccharifaction (glucamylase)

glucose syrup

isomerization (glucose isomerase)

fructose syrup (50/50)


Credit where credit is due!

-amylase: Aspergillus, Bacillus

glucamylase: Aspergillus, Bacillus, Rhizopus

glucose isomerase: Bacillus, Streptomyces

  • Xanthan from Xanthomonas campestris
  • food additives as stabilizers, thickeners, emulsifiers
  • drilling muds
  • polysaccharide produced by Aureobasidium pullulans (fungus)
  • edible and biodegradable films (low O2 permeability)
primary metabolites
Primary metabolites
  • amino acids: L-glutamic acid, L-lysine
  • purine nucleotides: IMP (inosine 5’monophosphate)
  • vitamins: riboflavin, B12
  • organic acids: citric, gluconic, fumarate, malate
  • solvents: ethanol, 2,3 butanediol
secondary metabolites
Secondary metabolites
  • antibiotics: bacitracin, erythromycin
  • toxins: mycotoxins
  • alkaloids
  • growth factors
  • pigments, flavours, fragrances
were you paying attention
Were you paying attention?
  • Big Mac sauce: soybean oil, pickles, vinegar, water, sugar egg yolks, high fructose corn syrup, mustard, salt, xanthan, potassium sorbate, spice, soy, corn and wheat protein, EDTA

water, glucose-fructose,

citric acid, tea, lemon flavour


chicken broth, egg noodles, water

chicken, salt, chicken fat, corn starch

monosodium glutamate, onion,

yeast extract, spice, beta carotene,



sorbitol, water, silica, glycerin,

sodium alkyl sulfate,

polyethylene glycol-6, flavour,

xanthan, saccharin, triclosan,

carbopol 956, titanium dioxide,

sodium fluoride, tetrasodium



skim milk, field berries, skim milk, modified corn starch

natural and artificial flavours, gelatin, whey protein

Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Streptococcus thermophilus,

Lactobacillus acidophilus, pectin, potassium sorbate

sucralose (splenda), calcium lactate, malic acid

vitamin A, vitamin D3