Integrated biotransformation and separation of valuable compounds in a novel multiphase loop reactor

Acronym: InBioSep

Timespan: 11.2017 – 10.2020 (BMBF project)

Resulting from the foreseeable shortage of fossil resources and climate change, a feedstock change from petroleum-based to renewable educts is inevitable. White biotechnology offers a promising possibility by optimizing and tuning microorganisms that metabolize renewable materials combined with efficient processes. One class of high value products that can be produced by microorganisms are sustainable biosurfactants like rhamnolipids. The processes to obtain such products are usually performed in fermenters in large production scale. However, the separation and purification of products from fermentation media lead to new challenges for process engineers concerning product purity, biocompatibility and economic as well as ecologic feasibility. To overcome these limitations in-situ product removal technologies are a good alternative to improve such processes. In this context, the aim of this interdisciplinary project is to develop a new biological fermentation procedure, for the production of rhamnolipids, using a novel multiphase loop-reactor that allows for an in-situ product removal from fermentation media. An analysis of potential market sectors of rhamnolipids will be examined to estimate the diffusion potential of rhamnolipids within different industrial sectors. Based on this, the emerging value chain that accounts for a sustainable and effective production of rhamnolipids will be investigated to understand the most beneficial markets and customers. In addition, the diffusion of the novel multiphase loop-reactor into the market will be investigated. Overall, the InBioSep project interlinks worldwide leading expertise in microbiology and process engineering alongside economics and innovation management.

© Uni Bonn

Figure 1: Structure of the interdisciplinary collaborative network

Contribution of TIM to the project

In this framework, the TIM Chair contributes to the InBioSep project within the WP5, WP8 and WP9 by tackling the following research goals:


Mapping the knowledge base of the application areas of rhamnolipids (WP5)

  • An analysis of the potential market sectors of rhamnolipids will be performed by drawing upon publications and patent data. Based on these analyses, we will be able to firstly, estimate the diffusion potential of application areas of rhamnolipids into different industrial sectors, and secondly, analyze the knowledge base behind the development and production of rhamnolipids

Analysis of emerging value chains: From feedstock to end users of rhamnolipids (WP8)

  • Based on the scientific literature and patent analysis, selected products containing rhamnolipids will be selected in order to understand the emerging value chain. Expert interviews will be conducted with the members of the industrial steering group as well as value chain members to identify the most beneficial market and customers of products containing rhamnolipids.

Technology transfer: From scientific insights to product applications of rhamnolipids (WP9)

  • This part concerns the question of how to move this technology from basic research to market with a focus on the right organizational approach to understand what is needed in order to transfer the novel approach into commercial applications. Based on expert interviews with the members of the industrial steering group and case studies, we will be able to identify development and commercialization strategies for this particular process innovation.


Lucia Brandt

Institute for Food and Resource Economics

Chair for Technology and Innovation Management in Agribusiness

Phone: +49-(0)228-73-2143


Wird geladen