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J Biotechnol. 1997 Dec 17;59(1-2):25-37.

Thermodynamics in biochemical engineering.

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Institut de génie chimique, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne, Switzerland.


Equilibrium aspects in biotechnology and thermodynamics as the main theory underlying them have thus far received relatively little attention. As a consequence, design and development of biotechnological processes is still carried out today in an relatively empirical way. For this situation to improve, a wider and more systematic use of the thermodynamic aspects pertaining to biotechnology must be encouraged. Recognizing this need, the ESF program on Process Integration in Biotechnology developed an intensive advanced course which was held twice so far. The present contribution uses the course structure in order to give a short overview of the field and to identify research needs. The development of a rigorous thermodynamic description, for the exceedingly complex world of biotechnology, is indeed one of the major challenges today in establishing the scientific basis for rational efficient, and fast bioprocess development and design.

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