Bioreactor Design and Operation

5th International Advanced Course

22 - 26 March 2010
Wageningen, The Netherlands

Organised by The Graduate School VLAG, in co-operation with Biotechnology Studies Delft Leiden (BSDL) and B-Basic (Bio-Based Sustainable Industrial Chemistry)

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   Introduction   Course contents   Organisation   General information   Registration & course fee   Photos   


Products from biotechnology cover a wide range, from pharmaceutical blockbusters to bulk energy carriers. In the research phase for new products main attention goes to the optimization of the microorganism. Genomics, physiology and metabolic engineering are the main study tools. Scale of operation is not really important in this case.
Profitability, whether it is determined by simple availability of the (expensive) product or by very low production cost, is for a great deal determined by the productivity parameters of the micro-organism. When it comes to production for the market, or even for the registration procedures, usually scale up is needed. Many times it appears that the microorganism behaves different, nearly always less efficient. This means that the organism experiences conditions different from that on small scale. Mixing, mass transfer, viscosity and foaming conditions are the main phenomena behind these differences. Knowledge of these phenomena integrated with the physiological parameters and scale up/scale down analysis gives a clear insight in the problems and solutions at scale up and at large scale. This also shows which parameters should be determined and controlled in the small scale research phase.
The number of new products and processes that can be developed by biotechnology is about unlimited. Usefulness and economic viability limits this number considerably. A sound process design is needed for a realistic determination of the economic viability. Fermenter design and the stoichiometry of growth and production of the microorganism are essential for this evaluation. On the basis of small scale data from the production organism a first estimation of final production costs can be made, without large scale data needed.

Target group
The course is meant for graduates that have basic knowledge in microbiology, molecular biology and (bio)process engineering. The course may attract persons from universities and industries active in product and process development, strain development, fermentation and recovery.

Course contents

Course aim
Understanding of basic physiology: formation of primary and secondary metabolites, governing factors for optimization of production, metabolic engineering and yield and kinetics, cell factory principles. How to use this as the basis for rate based design.
Understanding and ability for gross design of, mainly bubble column and stirred tank, bioreactors and also, wave and light reactors: process engineering such as mass transfer, mixing, foam, and shear, cost and profit calculations. Rate based design with engineering, stoichiometry, physiology, and cost data.
Understanding of context and governing decision factors for successful product sales: economical factors, approval procedures, research decision factors, political and environment factors.

Course design
The course will be composed of lectures from the course directors and computer supported cases to be made by the participants. Each day a product example will be used as a connecting theme. Product examples are: Ethanol production, PUFA and Enzyme production and Vaccine production. Each connecting theme also will be elucidated by a lecture from an expert with industrial experience. Above concise attention to the engineering, physiology and cost aspects of fermenter design also the environmental, political and registration aspects influencing decision making will be dealt with.

Programme topics

Provisional programme
Click here for the provisional programme in pdf.


Course coordinators

Other faculty

General information

Date & duration
The course will be held from 22 - 26 March 2010.

Study load
The study load of this course is 1.4 ECTS credits.

The course language will be English.

Location & accommodation
Lectures and demonstrations will be given at Wageningen University. Wageningen is located 5 kms from the railway station of Ede-Wageningen. Wageningen University can be reached by train (railway station Ede-Wageningen) and bus/taxi in less than two hours from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (see for train schedules:
A number of hotel rooms have been blocked at the hotel Hof van Wageningen for course participants, but only until 8 February 2010. Accommodation costs are € 75 (single room; incl. breakfast, excl. tax) per night. Hotel reservation is handled by hotel Hof van Wageningen. Participants have to book their own hotel room by sending an e-mail:
Please mention booking code BD10 VLAG.

Contact information
For more information please contact Mrs. Eva Oudshoorn: The Graduate School VLAG
P.O. Box 17
6700 AA Wageningen
The Netherlands
Phone: +31 317 485310
Fax: +31 317 483342

Registration & course fee

Please register by completing the course registration form.
Note: to be able to fill in the course registration form, you need an account. To create an account, please click the link above. Don't forget to fill in the course registration form after creating your account.
The final registration date is 8 March 2010. Registrations are accepted in the order in which the registration form and course fee payment are received.
The course fee (which includes materials, coffee/tea during breaks, lunches and one dinner but does not cover accommodation) depends on the participant's affiliation:

Industry / For-Profit € 1400
University staff / Non-Profit organisations     € 700
PhD students € 400
VLAG PhD students € 185

Applicants will be informed of acceptance of their registration before 1 March. They will then receive instructions for payment, a letter of acceptance and further course details.
Cancellations may be made free of charge until 8 March 2010. After this date the charge will be 25% of the course fee already paid or due. Substitutions for participants may be made until the start of the course.


Click on the photos (courses 2010 and 2006) to enlarge them.

photo participants Bioreactor Design and Operation 2010 photo participants Bioreactor Design and Operation 2006