Upstream Processing

In the biotechnology sector the term upstream processing comprises all measures for the preparation of fermentation. The process includes the proper storage of microorganisms, cell isolation and cultivation, the cultivation of the cells until the final harvest, as well as the cleaning and sterilization of the fermenter.

LEWA pumps are used in all phases of upstream processing: For cell cultivation in the process scale, nutrients, growth hormones or cell culture media are initially added to the fermenter. As soon as the cells are ready for harvest, they are extracted from the fermenter. In order to subsequently clean and sterilize the fermenter, caustic is added.


Advantages of the LEWA pumps in upstream processing:

  • Proven technology: robust, high availability, process reliability
  • Low maintenance: The metered fluid has no contact with the rotating parts, while all moving parts operate in a separate, protected, and lubricated drive
  • Hermetically tight concept: no leaks in the process area, sterile process
  • CIP and SIP possible
  • Precise flow rates: highly reproducible process control
  • High batch-to-batch reproducibility
LEWA ecodos sanitary/hygienic diaphragm metering pump


Upstream Processing – what is that?

Upstream processing comprises tasks in the initial stages of the fermentation process in biotechnology. This includes all steps related to the development of microorganisms, nutrient preparation, cell culture, cell separation and harvesting. As soon as the cells/bacteria have reached the desired density, they are harvested and moved to the subsequent bioprocess, the downstream processing, where they are further processed.

Upstream processing involves nutrient preparation. Like humans, cells in a culture also need the right nutrition to function and to produce the intended value product. The nutrients consist predominantly of different components, such as carbohydrates (glucose), nitrogen (amino acids), fats (lipids) and trace amounts of salt. The ingredients are mostly in powder form and are dissolved in high purity water. It is essential that the components are well mixed. The mixed solution is then fed to the fermenter.

The next step is the cell cultivation. Cells are growing and multiplied in a suitable environment. This is ideally composed of nutrients for growth and cell culture vessels for controlling gases and temperature.

The last step is cell separation, or cell harvesting. This is done first often by centrifugation. Here, the cells separate from the culture by the centrifugal forces generated and sediment. The subsequent filtration steps remove the main impurities from the harvest. Finally, diaphragm filtration and sterile-grade filtration ensure that even minor and microbial contaminations are removed.


Pharma, Life Science & Biotech

LEWA supplies pumps and systems for the pharmaceutical, life sciences, and biotech industries that comply with all hygienic requirements. We're happy to help you!


LEWA ecodos® sanitary/hygienic diaphragm metering pump

LEWA ecodos sanitary/hygienic diaphragm metering pump The LEWA ecodos® diaphragm metering pump with its sanitary/hygienic design is the ideal pump for food and pharmaceutical products in the low-pressure range.

Pomac rotary lobe pump

Pomac rotary lobe pump The rotary lobe pump the solid endurance test vehicle from Pomac is used in nearly all industrial areas and can withstand continuous loads.

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© 2020 LEWA GmbH