Bioprocesses are a workhorse for the production of food, pharmaceuticals and other everyday goods. Bioprocesses are particularly important in the transition from an oil-based to a bio-based economy. Our understanding of large-scale bioprocesses is still dominated by an average cell approach in which the reactor is well-stirred and all cells behave equally. In contrast, the complex interplay between environmental reactor dynamics and the subsequent cellular response is still a mystery. As a result, cells often show a significant variability in growth and production, potentially influencing the performance and robustness of bioprocesses.
In this context, Micro-Bioprocess engineering is a central field of research. This lecture will give an introduction to the field of Micro-Bioprocess engineering. Current fields of application are presented and explained on own research examples. Focus will be laid on so-called microfluidic single cell cultivation systems. With this technology, the influence of bioprocess-relevant parameters on the performance and heterogeneity of cells can be examined. The gained knowledge lays the foundation for the optimization and development of new bioprocesses. Finally, the potential and challenges of Micro-Bioprocess engineering are discussed and evaluated.