Institute of Technical Chemistry - Description

Institute of Technical Chemistry

The Institute of Technical Chemistry of the University of Hanover (TCI) accomplishes its educational and research activities on an area of 2300m2. Approx. 1600 m2 of this area are used for laboratories, workshops and a modern technicum. In our institute various research works concerning biotechnology, extraction, catalyse and computer applications in technical chemistry are carried out.


The Biotechnology group is interested in different aspects of bioprocess development. Main topics are monitoring, control and optimization of cultivation processes for bacteria, fungi and mammalian cells. In addition, investigations are being carried out in several new areas: enzymatic processes, new concepts of soil decontamination and innovative downstream processing techniques. Presently, various organisms producing antibiotics, enzymes, bacteriorhodopsin, flavors and blood factors are studied in detail. In the case of soil remediation, the biodegradative capabilities of mixed cultures are studied as well as the applicability of a rotating drum reactor. In the downstream area, efficient separation techniques for therapeutic proteins are under investigation.


Detailed monitoring of biotechnological processes is of the utmost importance to increase documentation, knowledge and control of these processes. Toward this goal, the Bioanalytics Groups works to develop different automated analyzer systems. These systems include chemo- and biosensors for analysis of low and high molecular weight compounds in cultivation media within a few minutes. Besides the development of optical chemosensors (e.g. oxygen, pH, in situ 2-D fluorescence spectroscopy), biosensors are developed based on amperometric, photometric and optical principles for multicomponent analysis of carbohydrates, amino acids and metabolites. Protein analysis is performed with automated immunoanalysis systems and protein characterization is done with capillary electrophoresis and MALDI-MS. The cell state can be determined on-line by 2-D-fluorescence measurements (e.g. NAD(P)H fluorescence) or off-line using flow cytometric methods.

Enzyme techniques

This research area deals with the investigation of enzymatic reactions in non-conventional reaction phases. Main research topics are multiple-phase systems (e.g., liquid membrane emulsion), organic reaction phases and supercritical phases (e.g., supercritical CO2). The studies focus on the behaviour of the enzymes, particulary reaction yield, specificity and enantioselectivity during the synthesis of natural compounds, flavours and amino acids.

Mammalian Cell Culture

Mammalian cell cultivation processes are becoming more and more widely used for the production of pharmaceutically important proteins. However, there are critical gaps in our knowledge of these processes. The Mammalian Cell Culture Group performs systematic studies on the growth and productivity of different recombinant and unmodified cells (CHO, BHK, hybridoma, Sf9). Main research topics are the influence of environmental parameters such as shear stress, temperature and toxic metabolites on cell behaviour and productivity. Shear stress sensitivity is a primary factor in optimizing and scaling up mammalian cell cultivations; therefore, studies are carried out to characterize the influence of shear on the cell and strategies to avoid or reduce the negative effects. Another important topic for the optimization of production processes is the influence of the cultivation temperature. Systematic studies on the effect of process temperature on protein quantity and quality are performed. These strategies together with on-line monitoring and control of crucial medium components (collaboration with the Bioanalytics Groups) lead to optimized processes with higher time- space yield.