SEMINAR — Dr. S. Sreeja

February 12, 2019 @ 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
MSB 129
Mechanical Sciences Block
IIT Madras
Chemical Engineering Office
044 22574150

Title: Microfluidic reactor for Industrial Biotransformation


Microfluidic reactors are reactors for continuous operation with volume ranging from micro litre (µl) to a few milli litre (ml). Due to the high surface to volume ratio they offer, these display improved reaction rate and therefore conversion compared to batch or conventional flow reactors. Hence, microfluidic reactors are replacing conventional CSTR and PFR employed in industrial production of bulk and fine chemicals through chemical reactions. Research on biotransformation reactions in microfluidic reactors for the production of bulk and fine chemicals has been ongoing for the past two decades. However, the technology has still not been commercialized. Most literature on biotransformation in microfluidic reactors focus on understanding the effect of various operational parameters on conversion. A few reports have developed mathematical models to capture the effect of operational parameters on conversion.

A new class of microfluidic reactor, viz. advanced flow microfluidic reactor are capable of providing better interfacial area compared to the earlier classes of microfluidic reactors. It comprises of compartments of a unique structural design connected in series. The unique structural design of these compartments allows efficient fluid mixing within the compartment thereby enhancing interfacial area for reaction. As fluid mixing is flow rate dependent in these reactors, a balance between fluid mixing and residence time has to be struck during optimization. Advanced flow microfluidic reactors have been found beneficial in chemical synthesis reactions. However, only one literature report exists with respect to evaluation of biotransformation reactions in advanced flow reactor. Also, improved mixing might result in unfavourable results in case of reactions involving substrate/ product inhibition. Hence, the objective of this work is to study three different types of industrial biotransformation reactions in advanced flow reactors – aqueous, aqueous-organic two phase system with no substrate/product inhibition, aqueous-organic two phase system with substrate/product inhibition. Models will be built to explain the effect of different operational parameters on conversion such as flow rate, aqueous to organic phase volume ratio, enzyme concentration, substrate concentration, temperature, etc. A model based optimization will be carried out to find the optimum operation conditions to achieve maximum conversion. In addition to model based optimization, this work also proposes to develop an online monitoring tool based on UV-visible spectrophotometry and multivariate data analysis.


Thesis title: Molecular weight control of hyaluronic acid in Lactococccus lactis cultures

Metabolic Engineering Lab, Dept. of Biotechnology, IIT Madras, Tamil Nadu, India


October, 2018
Bachelor and Master in Industrial Biotechnology

(5 year integrated course)


SASTRA University, Thanjavur- 613401, Tamil Nadu, India 2012


  • Provisional filing of patent titled ‘Process strategies for production of hyaluronic acid
  • at constant molecular weight during recombinant microbial fermentations’
  • with application no. 201841036041 was made in Sep, 2018.