Microbial Biomanufacturing Pilot Plant

National Research Council Canada, Montreal, Québec
What the facility does

Provides multi-disciplinary expertise in the development, optimization and scale-up of microbial fermentation processes

Areas of expertise

The microbial fermentation pilot plant is home to a multidisciplinary team of microbiologists, engineers, chemists and biochemists attuned to the biotechnology industry's needs. They take special care to design bioprocesses that can be smoothly transferred to industrial settings.

Areas of expertise include molecular biology, microbial physiology, bioprocess development, optimization and scale-up, primary recovery and extensive product purification, endotoxin removal, process control and monitoring, and production of high quality material.

While we work with firms of all sizes, our facility resources make us an especially attractive partner for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Research services
  • Engineering and selection of recombinant bacteria (e.g. Escherichia coli, Methylobacterium extorquens) and yeasts strains (e.g. Pichia, Saccharomyces)
  • Production of peptides, proteins, nutraceuticals, organic acids, polymers, and probiotics
  • Screening of media, microorganisms, cell lines, and cultivation conditions
  • Bioprocess optimization
  • Scale-up to 1500 L
  • Handling of methanol-oxidizing microorganisms
  • Testing of new monitoring/control equipment and reagents
  • Purification and analytical services to support bioprocessing operations
  • Technical and scientific guidance
  • General or specialized training
  • Documentation tailored to needs
Sectors of application
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment
  • Manufacturing and processing
Specialized lab Equipment Function
Molecular biology laboratory Bio-Rad MyCycler, MJ Mini and C100, Applied Biosystems GeneAmp PCR System 2700 Thermocycler system for DNA amplification.
  Thermo Scientific Savant DNA120 SpeedVac Concentrator Concentrate nucleic acids by vacuum and heat.
  Thermo Scientific Nanodrop 1000 Spectrophotometer Small volume (1-2 µL) spectrophotometer (UV-Visible) for DNA, RNA and protein quantification.
  Invitrogen Qubit 3 Fluorometer Specific and sensitive fluorescent quantification of DNA, RNA and protein.
  DNR MiniBis Pro Bio-Imaging Systems Image acquisition using white light and UV light (DNA/RNA).
  Geneious software (Biomatters) Whole genome sequencing and RNA-Seq analysis. Molecular cloning bioinformatic tools.
  Tecan SpectraFluor Plus Plate spectrophotometer for quantification and enzymatic assays.
  MBI Asys Atlantis Plate washer.
  Life Technologies iBlot 2/iBind systems System for quick Western blot assay.
  Aminco French Pressure Cell Press Small/Medium scale cell lysis system.
  Qsonica Sonicator (microtip) Cell lysis by sonication.
CL-1 pilot plant with bioreactors up to 1500 L Millipore, Dasgip bioreactor system Parallel, integrated bioreactors at the 1L scale to perform process development.
  Three (3) bioreactor skids with production bioreactors of 150L, 750L and 1500L respectively To propagate microbial cells through a series of bioreactors of increasing volume and to produce a desired product.
  Homogenizer Breakage of cells to release intracellular product, capacity 500 LPH.
  Microfluidizer Breakage of cells to release intracellular product, capacity 156 LPH.
  Disc stack continuous centrifuges, Alfa Laval BPTX Two parallel units. RCF: 12,800 x g, 100-500 LPM. To separate cells from process fluid.
  Carr Powerfuge Centrifuge RCF: 20,000 x g, ~1 LPM. To separate cells from process fluid.
  Preparation vessels To prepare process solutions up to 4000L. Vessels are connected to bioreactor skids.
  Process vessels, stirred For storage and manipulation of intermediate product solutions. Connected to bioreactor skids. Several vessels available up to 1500L.
  Lyophilizer To freeze-dry product.
Purification CL-1 Buffer containers (50/100/200 L PP containers, Sartorius Palletank, KitBin Decades)  To store/handle buffers up to 500L/1000 L/2000L.
  Clarification skids
(Millipore Millistak, 3M Zeta Plus, Pall Stax, Sartorius Sartocell ) 

Depth filters to remove cells and debris from process fluids.

0.1 – 15 m2

  Tangential Flow Filtration Cassette Holder (Sartorius SARTOFLOW 20, Sartorius Sartocon 2, Millipore Pellicon) To concentrate product and perform buffer exchange. Membrane capacity up 14 m².
  AKTA avant 150 Chromatography systems for purification development and medium-scale chromatography.
0.1- 150 mL/min
  AKTA Pilot Chromatography systems for medium-scale chromatography.
4-800 mL/min
  AKTA Process

Chromatography system for large-scale purifications.

0.2-10 L/min

  Bioprocess Chromatography System

For medium-scale chromatography 

0.2 – 2 L/min

  • GE BPG 100/200/300/450 columns
  • GE Axichrom 50/70/140 columns
  • GE HiScale columns

Chromatography columns for development to large scale purification.

1 mL to 50 L column volume

  Super-Q Water Production 15000 L/day
  Metered Vial Feeling 0.1 ml – 100 ml
CL-2 laboratory with bioreactors up to 150 L Bioreactor skid with 150 L production bioreactor To propagate microbial cells through a series of bioreactors of increasing volume and to produce a desired product.
Purification CL-2 Spectrum KrosFlo KTF 600 Automated Tangential Flow Filtration System Single use disposable flow path for Ultrafiltration/Diafiltration (UF/DF) and microfiltration up to 500L scale.
  AKTA Pilot

Chromatography systems for medium-scale purifications.

4-800 mL/min

  AKTA Explorer

Chromatography systems for purification development and small-scale purifications.

0.1 to 25 mL/min