UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering


Downstream Processing

A series of lectures on the principles and practice of downstream processing. This course follows on from the material provided in BENG101P, builds on that of BENG1006 and is a key foundation for the final year design project BENG3001.

Course Title
Credits 0.5
Course Tutor 
Professor Ajoy Velayudhan

Exam (unseen 3hr written examination) 90%

Coursework (2000 words) 10%


  • The recovery and purification of biological products from complex sources such as fermentation or cell culture represents the major challenge for the provision of safe and effective materials, e.g. for therapeutic use.
  • Particle recovery and purification processes are examined as the early stages in the recovery and purification of biological materials.  Operations include centrifugation, filtration, membrane separation, precipitation and crystallisation.  Complementary extraction operations include liquid/liquid reaction and cell disruption.
  • High resolution purification and finishing operations take the material to final form for use- operations studied include chromatography, affinity separation, spray drying and freeze drying.
  • The course is concluded with a summary of how complete recovery and purification sequences may be best put together and the use of mathematical models in the simulation of process options.
  • Case studies in the design of selected operations will form the basis of team exercises to help with the understanding and application of the lecture notes.

For more details please contact Professor Ajoy Valayudhan a.velayudhan@ucl.ac.uk