Separation Processes for Biological Products


To provide the students the ability to:

- Understand the main separation techniques used in Biotechnology

- To formulate isolation schemes for a given biomolecule, and to design the equipment required for each unit operation

- To have an overview of the exigencies in the handling, purification and validation of processes involving biological products

General characterization





Responsible teacher

João Paulo Serejo Goulão Crespo, Pedro Miguel Calado Simões


Weekly - 5

Total - 68

Teaching language





“Bioseparations: Downstream Processing for Biotechnology”, Paul A. Betler, A.L. Cussler, Wei-Shou Hu, John Wiley & Sons (1988) USA

“Handbook of Downstream Processing”, Ed. Elliott Goldberg, Blackie Academic & Professional (1997) UK

“Bioseparations Science and Engineering”, Roger Harrison, Paul Todd, Scott Rudge, Demetri Petrides, Oxford University Press (2003) UK

“Bioprocess Engineering Principles”, Pauline Doran, Academic Press (2003), UK

"Industrial Bioseparations: Principles and Practice"; Daniel Forcitini, Wiley-Blackwell (2007)

Teaching method

The teaching comprises lectures and practical/laboratorial classes. Lectures cover all the content according with the syllabus. Wherever necessary example problems will be solved to illustrate the given concepts. Laboratorial classes are programmed to carry out practical works related to the lectures. The students will prepare seminars related with the topics of the course, giving emphasis to new techniques.

Evaluation method


1. Three mini tests (closed-booked), each one worth 20% of the final grade.
2. A seminar (to be held in a group) including elaboration and presentation. It accounts for 20% of
the final grade.
3. Laboratory team work, including elaboration and discussion of respective reports. It accounts for 20% of the final grade.

Subject matter

  1. Introduction to Bioseparation Processes – Bioprocesses Classification; properties, Classification and Applications of Biological products; Production-Cost relation; RIPP Schemes and typical unit operations; Examples of industrial biochemical processes.
  2. Solid-Liquid Separations – Operations to remove solids: (i) Filtration at constant flow and pressure. Filter design. (ii) Sedimentation. Sedimentation velocity; Stokes´ Law; Design of sedimentation equipment. (iii) Centrifugation. Applied Stokes law, Equivalent area of sedimentation; types of centrifuges; Equations for centrifuge design.
  3. Cell disruption- Structure and composition of cell membranes and walls; Chemical and mechanical methods for cell disruption.
  4. Chromatography
  5. Adsorption - Adsorbents; Adsorption equilibrium; Solute movement theory; Local equilibrium theory; Packed bed adsorption; Mass transfer zone approach; Linear dispersion and staged models; Van Deemter equation; . Examples of industrial processes.
  6. Membrane Separations - Basic concepts; Membrane preparation and characterization; Modules; Transport in porous membranes: concentration polarization; Transport in nonporous membranes: solution-diffusion model; Membrane separation processes: pressure and concentration driven; Modules/configurations and applications.
  7. Integrated processes - Selection and sequencing of separations; Overview of separation methods; Energy, heuristics and environmental criteria; Analysis of specific bioprocesses (e.g., citric acid production; human insulin production).


Programs where the course is taught: