Fouling in Downstream Processing Operations
The hindrance and loss of performance of a filtration process by several mechanisms such as adsorption, pore blockage, and deposition is termed “fouling”. This phenomenon can be further extended to any kind of porous media and it is the main reason for the unavoidable substitution of filters, membranes, chromatography resins, and a variety of permeable structures within a process [1,2].
Fouling of these materials can carry heavy burden at the expenses of biopharmaceutical manufacturing. It is one of the major factors that contributes to the high cost of recovery and purification operations, which range between 40-70% of the total production costs.
Notwithstanding its important repercussion in bioprocesses, fouling is still a poorly understood phenomenon and a challenge for the process engineer. The disregard for fouling characterization during process development combined with the limited understanding of the mechanisms that give rise to it, may lead to oversizing of unit operations, inconsistent process schedules and unannounced interruptions as well as product losses. All of these outcomes ultimately lead to reduced productivity and an increase of manufacturing expenses. These issues are crucial in the vaccine industry where the profit margins can be relatively small .
Aim of the project
The main focus of this project is to identify factors that cause fouling in porous media during downstream processing of cell culture-derived viruses and the assessment of strategies for its minimization.
 Field, R. (2010). Fundamentals of Fouling. In K.-V. Peinemann & S. P. Nunes, Membrane Technology (pp. 1–23). Weinheim: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA.
 Liew, M. K., Fane, A. G., & Rogers, P. L. (1997). Fouling of microfiltration membranes by broth-free antifoam agents. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 56(1), 89–98.
 Wolff, M. W.; Ziemann, C.; Bock, A.; Leskovec, M.; Kramberger, P.; Urbas, L.; Strancar , A.; Reichl, U. (2014) Downstream processing of cell culture-derived inactivated biologicals. Monolith Summer School & Symposium 2014, Portorož, Slovenia