The Biotransformation track approaches the field of industrial biotechnologies with the ambition to contribute to the design and optimization of innovative industrial bioprocesses combining performance and robustness of processes. A multi-scale approach, from the cell to the production facility, is developed within the team and supported by its multidisciplinary skills including process engineering, microbiology and industrial skills. Different aspects of biotechnological processes are studied, from the understanding of biological phenomena to the optimization and control of culture systems, by implementing a synergy between experimentation and modeling.
The work carried out in this team concerns the control and exploitation of different types of microorganisms (yeasts, microalgae, filamentous fungi, plant cells), in order to develop various applications: environmental (effluent treatment, CO2 bio-fixation), energetic (anaerobic digestion, co-digestion, biofuels), food (wine fermentation, microalgal biomass) and the production of molecules with medium and high added value (for green chemistry, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals ...). This work has often led to improved or innovative processes.
Metabolic studies and responses at the population level
The study of metabolism at the level of physiological response of population, allows to better understand the living and its interaction with its environment in order to be able to control it and to exploit it within the processes. To do this, the team, in partnership with the modeling track and the various platforms, designs and implements original, innovative and instrumented characterization and monitoring tools (imaging, immobilized cultures, microsystems, mini-bioreactors, sensors, etc.) to predict the behavior of biological systems. Adaptation mechanisms are observed and predicted according to abiotic factors (T°, P°, light...) and biotic factors in the case of mixed cultures, to develop optimization strategies.
Photosynthetic cultures and production of targeted molecules
The Chair designs and instruments optimized production systems for microalgae by approaching different designs: open systems such as raceways or closed systems (airlift, flat photobioreactors, or perfectly agitated). There are two ways of valorization: the whole biomass (environment, energy, human food and animal feed applications) and the extraction of high added value molecules (cosmetic and pharmaceutical field). In the first case, the optimization of the growth is sought with an adapted formulation of the culture media and the study of the environmental factors (pH, T°, light...). In the second case, stress conditions are applied to induce the production of target molecules (PUFA, DHA, astaxanthin, phycocyanin ...).
The team works on the harvesting stage and DSP processes, in partnership with the Downstream processes track.
Design, optimization and control of processes
From the coupling between biological models from metabolic and population studies, and its expertise in process engineering (fluid mechanics, hydrodynamics, thermodynamics and industrial experiments), the team develops and optimizes innovative bioprocesses in liquid (bioreactors and photobioreactors) or solid state fermentation. These innovative processes can be the object of custom (photo)bioreactor design.
The scale-up of these processes is implemented thanks to the equipment of the pilot plant and the skills of the modeling/simulation baseframe, in order to validate the performances of the developed systems. Process optimization is supported by the development of sensors and the application of robust control laws, in partnership with the instrumentation platform.
Examples of achievements
- Design and validation of thermally insulated bioreactors for a fed-batch control process of yeast production (patented in collaboration with Oeno Concept) - IMAFOeno project
- Design of mini-bioreactors under pressure (up to 8 bars), allowing a study of the influence of pressure on the growth of yeast cultures by downsizing to reproduce and simulate the hydrostatic conditions of the pressure imposed on an industrial scale
- Anaerobic digestion of microalgae biomass for biogas production - Algue4Biomethane project
- Optimization of microalgal strains culture adapted to north-western European conditions - IDEA project: The team participates with 10 European partners to the implementation of a commercial chain of valorization of microalgae in the northwestern region of Europe.
- Detailed study and modeling of the growth of filamentous fungi in collaboration with the FARE laboratory of Reims
- Study of the interactions between species (mixed cultures)
- Design and automation of a raceway
- Treatment of wastewater from the sugar industry by microalgae culture - Demalgue project
- Custom-designed 450 mL pressurized bioreactors (up to 8 bars)
- Instrumented microphotobioreactors, developed in-house
- 2 to 5 L instrumented bioreactors
- 5 L photobioreactors
- Thermal cycler for molecular biology with RT-qPCR capability
- Cell/particle suspension counter with granulometry
- Support of the equipment of the Pilot Plant platform for the scaling up of the developed processes.
- Strong link with the Imaging platform and the Analytical platform.