The objective of the unit is to put the art of the engineer at the service of biology. It seeks to tranfer a cellular process in a bioreactor designed for this purpose or to conceive innovating systems and to manage them (engineering of fermentations) while emphasizing  the understanding of the relations medium-microorganisms - products (microbial , molecular ecology).      
The unit is interested in the bioconversions catalysed by pure strains or heterogeneous microbial communities for environmental and bioprocess engineering. It is studying the degradation of organic compounds, including pollutants, often in mixtures, in the aqueous effluents, gas effluents and in soils, as well as wastewater treatment. It also seeks, in collaboration, to study the on-line estimation of parameters and the development of adaptive algorithms of control of continuous bioreactors and to develop cultures of animal cells in conjunction with the development of appropriate supports.

The research and teaching program aims at the training of engineers for bioprocess industries and for careers of this type in the public and private sectors. At the post-graduate and doctoral level the unit offers the opportunity of preparing a new generation of professionals for current multifaceted research in applied biotechnology. 

Environment (= to clean up)
  • Purification, recycling and valorization of industrial and urban wastewater
  • Processing of wastewater treatment sludge
  • Bioremediation of contaminated soils
  • Recovery and use of biogas in controlled landfills
  • Molecular microbial ecology of contaminated sites

Bioconversions (= to give added value)

  • Biological breakdown of resistant, toxic organic substances or mixed pollutants (organochlorine, industrial dyes, aromatic compounds)
  • Enzymatic and biological preprocessing of wastewater
  • Bioconversion of gaseous substrates with an aim of synthesis and pollution control
  • Biomethanation
  • Biotransformation of biomass into biofuels and otehr molecules of industrial interest (biorefining)

Bioengineering of animal cells (= pharmaceutical)

  • Culture of CHO (Chinese Hamster Ovary) cells of insect cells and of stemcells in suspension and on supports in a bioreactor context
  • Production of recombinant glycoproteins in perfusion bioreactors at high cell density

Microbial engineering (= process design and control)

  • Control of anaerobic and aerobic microbial communities, psychrophilic bacteria, filamentous fungi, yeasts
  • Modeling of microbiological processes and control of bioreactors by adaptive algorithms (in collaboration with the Unit of Automation, Professors G. Bastin and D. Dochain)
  • Developments of analytical methods for the monitoring of pollutants and other molecules (substrates, intermediates, poducts)

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| contact : Erna BUTAYE | 5/11/2012 |
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