Field of Science

Moss Bioreactor

So you might have heard of a bioreactor before, but what does a bioreactor actually do? According Merriam-Webster a bioreactor is "a device in which living organisms (typically bacteria) synthesize useful substances or breakdown harmful ones." A number of biopharmaceuticals are made in this way, using either bacteria or mammal cells. Genes to make specific proteins are inserted into the cells and then they produce these proteins in massive quantities.

Recently they have starting using the moss Physcomitrella patens in conjunction with bioreactor technology. Much of this research is happening in Dr. Ralph Reski's lab in Freiburg, Germany. We met some of the researchers working in his lab at the Physcomitrella workshop that I attended this past March. They are working in conjunction with researchers in the pharmaceutical industry to optimize this technique.

It is pretty interesting that they are able to use mosses for this practical application. Who would have guessed?

Below the fold are several scientific papers that review this process and recent innovations in moss bioreactors. The third article has an amazing color photo of a moss bioreactor!

1) Decker, E.L., Reski, R. (2008): Current achievements in the production of complex biopharmaceuticals with moss bioreactor. Bioprocess and Biosystems Engineering 31, 3-9.

2) Decker, E.L., R. Reski (2007): Moss bioreactors producing improved biopharmaceuticals. Current Opinion in Biotechnology 18, 393-398.

3) Decker, E.L., G. Gorr, R. Reski (2003): Moss - An innovative tool for protein production. BioForum Europe 7, 96-97.

1 comment:

  1. When Jason worked for Amgen, he used bioreactors. I always like when he talked about "The Bioreactor." It sounds so "mad-scientist-y." What? That's a real word!


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