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A juice extractor can simplify the downstream processing of plant-derived biopharmaceutical proteins compared to blade-based homogenizers

: Buyel, J.F.; Fischer, R.


Process biochemistry 50 (2015), No.5, pp.859-866
ISSN: 0032-9592
ISSN: 0963-4940
ISSN: 1359-5113
European Commission EC
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IME ()

The production of biopharmaceutical proteins using plant-based systems has recently become economically competitive with conventional expression platforms based on microbes and mammalian cells, but downstream processing remains a significant cost factor. Here we report that, depending on the protein expression level, production costs for biopharmaceuticals made in plants can be reduced by up to 30% if a juice extractor is used instead of a blade-based homogenizer or blender. Although the extraction efficiency is lower, combining extraction and solid-liquid separation into a single operation reduces the extract volume by 80%, which achieves savings of similar to 60% for downstream consumables and labor. Additionally, juice extraction can easily be scaled-up to process several tons of biomass per day and its,continuous mode of operation simplifies downstream processing steps because the volume of storage tanks and the duration of hold times are reduced. The juicer setup is also compatible with flocculation and to some extent with leaf blanching, which increase the efficiency of extract clarification and product purification, respectively. The use of juicers can therefore significantly increase the competitiveness of plant-based production platforms.