BB1300 Cultivation Technology 7.5 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.

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Course information

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents *

Living cells form the backbone in many industrial bioprocesses and the number of products and applications are rapidly increasing. Examples are sustainable biofuels, antibiotics, hormones, food and food additives, alcoholic beverages, dyes and chemicals. bioprocesses are also used in clean-up of  waste streams of modern society. Wastewater from households, streets and industries are important examples, but also soil and polluted air can be 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 microbial cultivations how to choose a medium, bioreactor and cultivation technique, as well as which analyses and calculations need to be carried out, to understand the results and to be able to compare it with alternative techniques. This includes:

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 environmental 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 feed, stirring, airflow and cultivation volume affects the cultivation performance

Intended learning outcomes *

After completing the course, students should be able to:

  • Prepare, operate, analyze and evaluate batch- and fed batch bioreactor cultivations.
  • Know and describe common concepts in cultivation technology.
  • Declare and reflect how variations in cultivation parameters and -concepts affect the microbial performance and process economy.
  • Derive mass balances, calculate rates and yields for any compound in a cultivation process and implement and use simple quantitative models for the biomass specific growth rate and substrate consumption.

Course Disposition

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Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites *

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Recommended prerequisites

Recommended courses BB1030 Microbiology, BB1150 Biochemistry 1 and BB1230 Biochemistry 2 or equivalent courses .


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Examination and completion

Grading scale *

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

Examination *

  • TENA - Written exam, 7.5 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.

Other requirements for final grade *

Passed examination, passed laboratory work and passed study exercises.

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

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Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

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Antonius Van Maris

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 BB1300

Offered by

CBH/Industrial Biotechnology

Main field of study *


Education cycle *

First cycle

Add-on studies

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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.

Supplementary information

The course overlaps with BB1120

Students are requiredto registerat least two weeksin advance for the exam.