Leveraging Microscale Automated Bioreactors for the Design and Optimization of Microbial Cell Factories for the Production of Anticancer Drugs Taxol

  • Leonardo Rios Solis, PhD

    Lecturer (Asst. Prof) in Synthetic Biology and Biochemical Engineering, Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology, Institute for Bioengineering, The University of Edinburgh


Currently over 95 % of pharmaceutical products and transport fuels are derived from petroleum. Sustainable alternatives are critical to achieving net-zero emissions without detriment to quality of life. The blockbuster chemotherapeutic Taxol is naturally scarce, difficult to extract, and their chemical complexity often hinders total synthesis. Industrial scale production is therefore a monumental challenge. Microbial biosynthesis is an alternative, sustainable production route, which has been widely reported at laboratory scale. However, the translation of these breakthroughs to industrial bioprocesses remains a critical bottleneck, specially towards the recent shift into continuous flow operation. This work will exemplify an accelerated bioprocessing strategy to optimise, scale up and move towards continuous flow production of these valuable natural products using an integrated downstream/upstream continuous flow bioprocess based on solid/liquid extraction of the natural high value compounds.

Learning Objectives:

1. Discuss the advantages of using of microscale tools mimicking large scale conditions to optimize a microbial cell factory.

2. Discuss the advantages of using an integrated bioprocess approach using solid/liquid extraction to enhance the production of natural products.

3. Applying in situ solid/liquid extraction methods to recover high value compounds in microbial cell factories.

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