Biotechnology: Biomimetic compartmentation of cellular processes in microfluidic systems

Common biotechnology is still subject to restrictions predominantly based on integrity and well-being of the used organism and product functionality, respectively. For example, there is no possibility to produce cytotoxic compounds or enzymes lost their functionality when a certain amount of organic solvents is needed. These limitations could be overcome by transferring distinct metabolic in vivo steps from the cell into artificial biomimetic ex vivo systems. In this context, micro process engineering offers new possibilities for biotechnical process development.

In a closed co-operation with several KIT working groups we develop biomimetic compartmented microfluidic structures for use in enzymatic cascade reactions.

(A) Scheme of an enzymatic cascade for the synthesis of non-proteinogenic amino acids; (B) Model of a microstructured reactor (Prechtl et al. 2013)