Bioprocessing, also referred to as biological manufacturing, encompasses the utilisation of living organisms such as bacteria, enzymes, and cells to generate valuable products. Scientists create suitable conditions to facilitate biological processes on a larger scale in order to produce these products. For instance, substances like antibodies, which are naturally formed in the human body on a small scale, can be mass-produced through bioprocessing and utilised in the treatment of patients who are ill.
Bioprocessing is instrumental in advancing stem cell therapies, vaccine manufacturing, and various other fields. However, its significance extends beyond just medicine. Scientists can utilise biological processes to facilitate the production of renewable energy and accomplish many other groundbreaking goals. If you have a passion for a career in an assay development company, exploring the bioprocessing industry could be a highly promising endeavour.
Unravelling the Mechanics of Bioprocessing
In order to produce any type of product through bioprocessing, scientists must adhere to a specific step-by-step process. While there may be some variations in the workflow based on the desired product, the general process of bioprocessing involves the following steps.
1. Gathering samples – Prior to commencing bioprocessing, researchers must collect the living organisms responsible for producing the desired product. This may include living cells, enzymes, bacteria, or other relevant entities. These samples are subsequently stored in a ‘seed bank’ to ensure their viability until they are needed for the next stage.
2. Cultivating the sample – To produce the required volume of the desired product, scientists often face the challenge of lacking a sufficiently large sample of the living organism. Consequently, they engage in the process of cultivating the living organisms In order to scale up the initial sample.
3. Culturing the cells – In the realm of bioprocessing, the process of culturing cells plays a crucial role. This stage involves providing The sample organisms with optimal conditions to stimulate the production of the desired molecules or products. It is of utmost importance for bioprocessing scientists to closely observe and manage the cells, striving to maximise the yield. Given that bioprocessing can be both costly and time-consuming, meticulous monitoring becomes imperative.
4. Harvesting – Harvesting is a crucial phase in which scientists must effectively extract the desired product from the original sample cells after the biological process has occurred. This separation process is known as “harvesting.” In some cases, when the desired product is generated within the sample cells, scientists refer to this separation process as “recovery.”
5. Purification – During the purification process, scientists meticulously eliminate impurities, salts, solvents, and even conduct thorough virus checks to ensure the cleanliness and safety of the product. This step is crucial, particularly when the end product is intended for the treatment of patients. Given the inherent risk of contamination when working with living cells, this purification stage holds immense significance.
6. Verification – Prior to its distribution to the public, researchers must ensure that the collected product functions as intended. Experts in bioprocessing will examine the molecules and determine the optimal and safest method of administering them. This may involve incorporating the desired product into an aerosol, powder, or liquid suspension.
7. Packaging – Once the scientists have approved the final product, it undergoes the process of packaging and labelling to prepare it for transportation to its ultimate destination, which may include hospitals or other institutions.