Skip to main content

BB1120 Cultivation Technology 6.0 credits

Living cells forms the backbone in many bioprocesses where we produce products that we daily use. The products are very many and are rapidly increasing every year. Examples are biofuels, antibiotics, hormones, food and food additives, alcoholic beverages, dyes and chemicals. But bioprocesses are also used since many years to help to clean-up waste that is a result of modern society. Wastewater from households, streets and industries are important examples but also soil and polluted air is treated by biological methods.

To use living cells in this way, we need to understand how they are best used to get an economic, safe and sustainable process. In this course you will learn how to design the cultivation of a living cell by the best choice of media, bioreactors, cultivation technique and which analysis and calculations that are performed in order to understand the outcome and to compare to alternative techniques. This is thus the very hart of any bioprocess whether in an industry or in the nature.

Course offering missing for current semester as well as for previous and coming semesters
Headings with content from the Course syllabus BB1120 (Spring 2016–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

No information inserted

Intended learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

• know and describe the principle historical development of bioproducts and bioprocesses and the characteristics of common production organisms

• describe the content of different types of common media

• be able to describe the flux leading to overflow metabolism in E.coli, S. cerevisiae and animal cells

• understand why and how growth occurs and substrate is consumed in cultivation

• know and describe the common kinetic models for consumption of substrate, maintenance requirements and formation of different products categories

• know and describe common types of bioreactors including the auxiliary equipment. Be able to describe the mixing patterns and the parameters that affects the mixing in those reactors.

• understand how oxygen and carbon dioxide is transported between gas and liquid in bioreactors and the parameters that affect its efficiency

• know, describe and operate the common cultivation techniques used in bioprocessing

Skills and abilities

• be able to calculate the composition of a minimal medium on basis of the components commonly used

• be able to outline and describe simple structured models of the cellular metabolism

• be able to calculate total, volumetric and specific activities and yields in bioprocesses, know the meaning of these concepts and use them to describe the process performance

• be able to derive mass balances for cell, byproduct and product accumulation, substrate and oxygen consumption for different cultivation techniques

• be able to set up Matlab simulations on basis of mass balances and relevant kinetic models

• be able to draw the principal progress of process variables for the cultivation concepts

• be able to plan, operate and evaluate the performance of bioprocesses

• be able to perform oxygen transfer capacity measurements and be able to outline mixing time measurements in bioreactors

Ability to judge and to adopt a standpoint

• be able to speculate on how different cultivation conditions affect growth and byproduct formation

• be able to evaluate the reason to why growth ceases in batch cultivation

• be able to discriminate on the use of a specific cultivation concept depending on its benefits and drawbacks in relation to the product and process requirements

• be able to reflect on the effect on process economy with respect to choice of medium, bioreactor and cultivation technique for a specific process and product

• be able to declare how variations in substrate feed, stirring, airflow and cultivation volume affects the cultivation performance

Course disposition

No information inserted

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

The upper-secondary school from 1 July 2011 and adult education at upper-secondary level from 1 July 2012 (Gy2011)

Specific entry requirements: Physics 2, Chemistry 1 and Mathematics 4. In each of the subjects the minimum grade required is Pass.

The upper-secondary school before 1 July 2011 and adult education at upper-secondary level before 1 July 2012

Specific entry requirements: mathematics E, physics B and chemistry A. In each of the subjects the grade required is Passed or 3.

Recommended prerequisites

BB1030 Microbiology 
BB1090 Biochemistry, theory 
BB1100 Biochemistry, Laboratory Course or corresponding knowledge.


No information inserted


Larsson G, Compendium in Cultivation technology. 

Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

A, B, C, D, E, FX, F


  • TENA - Examination, 6.0 credits, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

No information inserted

Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

No information inserted


Profile picture Gen Larsson

Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course web

Further information about the course can be found on the Course web at the link below. Information on the Course web will later be moved to this site.

Course web BB1120

Offered by


Main field of study

Biotechnology, Technology

Education cycle

First cycle

Add-on studies

No information inserted

Supplementary information

The course overlaps with BB1300

Students are required to sign up at least two weeks in advance for examination.

The course is given provided at least seven students are admitted.