Institute of Chemical Engineering
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Refolding Process Unit

As a result of recent advances in genetic engineering and more efficient bioprocessing, bacterial bioprocesses are able to produce higher amounts of recombinant proteins than before. However, overexpression of proteins often causes the formation of intracellular inclusion bodies (inactive protein aggregates).

In order to convert these inclusion bodies into active proteins, a special type of downstream unit operation can be employed: the protein refolding process. This process often consists of several steps for transformation of inactive into active protein, including solubilization and refolding steps. In the solubilization step, initially, inclusion bodies are solubilized using detergent solutions to prevent protein aggregation. Subsequently in refolding step, favorable conditions are created, so that the solubilized protein is refolded into its native structure.

The protein refolding process is a crucial downstream unit operations because of its high impact on the overall production performance with respect to product quality, purity, and yield. In order to achieve a better performance, it is important to monitor the chemical constituents of the process.

This project aims are developing a process unit to allow generic process development of the refolding step.

This comprises a fully integrated process system with individual controls of process parameters, as well as PAT solutions for assessing refolding kinetics and product quality.


Univ.Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Christoph Herwig


Commercial Partner