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Bioprocess development

We develop fermentation processes to exploit the full potential of microorganisms, using our extensive lab to pilot scale infrastructure

VTT is your partner of choice in the exploitation of different organisms – from bacteria, yeasts and fungi to algae and plant cells.

Precise monitoring of microbial physiology in process conditions facilitates process optimization from laboratory scale up to semi-industrial pilot scale.

VTT´s bioprocess engineering in connection with in-house bioinformatics, modelling and production host engineering offers unique possibilities to develop novel solutions.

Optimize your bioprocess at VTT.

Advanced process optimization

We offer process development from strain improvement to pilot-scale production. Through our unique combination of competences in microbial physiology, advanced measurement technology and computational biology, we can help our customers develop their bioproduction processes to a totally new level.

Our services are highly valuable in the production of biochemicals, biofuels and enzymes, but also for diagnostic applications such as the production of antibodies. We also develop processes for the cosmetic and food industries and new biorefinery concepts for a variety of products from biomass.

In addition to conventional stirred-tank fermentation, we have the technology for phototrophic, electrobiosynthetic and gas fermentations.

High-tech bioreactor facilities

Our bioprocess facilities are equipped with more than 60 fermenters, ranging from less than 100 ml to 1,200 l working volume. Cultivation possibilities include traditional stirred-tank reactors but also high consistency processes, photobioreactors, electrobiosynthetic processes and gas fermentations. Our downstream processing equipment is scaled to the rapid processing of culture broths and enables optimization of the complete process from start to finish.

In addition to classical bioprocess measurements, we use state-of-the-art techniques to provide information on intracellular activity, e.g. transcriptomics, metabolomics and flux balance analysis.


 Content Editor


Jaana Uusitalo

I am Research Team Leader of the Bioprocess engineering team in Industrial Biotechnology and Food Solution research area.  During my more than 25 years at VTT I have gained expertise in developing, optimising and scaling up processes for protein and chemical production with eukaryotic organisms like yeasts and filamentous fungi. I have been involved in several customer and publicly funded projects and have acted as project manager and WP leader. My recent interest relates to circular economy and especially bioproduction of fuels and chemicals from several lignocellulosic raw materials and side streams including e.g. enzymatic hydrolysis, yeast development, fermentation and development of process concepts.

Juha-Pekka Pitkänen

I am a Principal Scientist and Principal Investigator in the Bioprocess engineering team. My long experience in automation of bioprocess cultivation and monitoring systems is applied for studying organisms in process-like conditions, and for developing and optimizing the production processes for Finnish and international customers. My current research interests focus on microbial electrosynthesis and gas fermentation related projects for which I have set up the electrobioreactor and gas bioreactor facilities at VTT.

Juha-Pekka on LinkedIn, Juha-Pekka on ResearchGate, Juha-Pekka on GoogleScholar

Marilyn Wiebe

My current research focuses on the use of microbes in biorefinery and biofuel concepts. My primary interest has been the exploitation of filamentous fungi and yeast, but I also work with bacteria and algae. Bioreactors have provided useful tools for both physiological studies and for process development. I work primarily with small scale lab reactors, but am also involved in both scaling up and down of processes. During and after my Ph.D. (University of Manchester, UK, 1986-1989) I studied fungal morphology, evolution and protein production, with a particular interest in single cell protein. My B.Sc. (University of Saskatchewan, 1980-1984) and M.Sc. (University of British Columbia, 1984-1986) were obtained in Canada. I have been working at VTT since 2003.

Marilyn on LinkedIn, Marilyn on ResearchGate

Brian Gibson

My current work focusses on brewing yeast biology and beer quality. Development of brewing yeast performance through natural means (adaptive evolution and interspecies hybridization) is a key topic of interest. Targets for optimization include stress resistance, cold tolerance, sugar utilization and flavour profile. I specialize in yeast physiology and fermentation performance but my projects encompass diverse research strategies from genetic engineering to microbial ecology. I was awarded a PhD from University College Dublin, Ireland in 2004 and began postdoctoral research work in the UK (Oxford Brookes University and University of Nottingham) before joining VTT in 2009. My current position is Principal Research Scientist. 

Brian on LinkedIn, Brian on ResearchGate, Brian on GoogleScholar

Simo Ellilä

My work focuses on the conversion of agro- and forest industry residues into value added fuels and chemicals. I completed my Master’s degree in Molecular Biology in 2011 (University of Tampere) and have been working at VTT since then. I have experience in working with bacterial, fungal and yeast host systems. At VTT I have primarily been involved in the discovery and production of hydrolytic enzymes, biomass hydrolysis and different fermentation processes. I am also very interested in overall bioprocess conceptualization and techno economics. My main topic of interest is the cellulosic ethanol process, on which I have worked for nearly 5 years. From 2013 to 2016 I worked on developing a cellulosic ethanol process for the sugarcane industry in Sao Paulo, Brazil. My more recent work has been geared toward the production of organic acids from biomass hydrolysates and industrial side streams.

Simo on LinkedIn


Dorothee Barth

My areas of expertise are kinetic modelling, optimization and monitoring of dynamic biological processes. I received my Diploma of Engineering in 2005 from the University of Stuttgart, Germany, in the field of Engineering Cybernetics, focusing on applied mathematics, control theory and modelling of dynamic systems. The topic of my PhD, which I received from the University of Kiel, Germany, was modelling and analysis of the growth of Streptococcus thermophilus as a starter culture. After a PostDoc at Aalto University I joined VTT in the beginning of 2010. My current research involves construction and analysis of metabolic networks as well as modelling fermentation data with the goal of automation and optimization.

Dorothee on LinkedIn, Dorothee on ResearchGate

Anu Tamminen

I studied Biotechnology at the University of Jyväskylä, from where I have my M.Sc. degree. I have more than 12 years of expertise with many different bioprocess systems, using bacteria, yeast and filamentous fungi for various bulk and high value products. I have been involved in optimizing bioproduction processes in cooperation with both Finnish and international partners. Special expertise include gas-fermentations with both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria. My current research focus is on the exploitation of fungi from marine environments.

Anu on LinkedIn, Anu on ResearchGate

Virve Vidgren

My areas of expertise are molecular biology, genetics and strain construction. I received my M.Sci. diploma in 1998 from University of Helsinki. I joined VTT shortly after graduation and have been working mostly in projects related to brewing. The topic of my PhD, which I received in 2011 from the University of Helsinki, was characterization and improvement of sugar uptake efficiency in brewer’s yeast. My current research involves different aspects of brewing, e.g. production of non-alcoholic beer and use of novel yeast strains for beer production.

Tel.+358 20 722 7070
Opening hours Mon - Fri 9:00 - 11:00 and 12:00 - 15:00, UTC +3 time zone


P.O. Box 1000, FI-02044 VTT, Finland
Tel. exchange +358 20 722 111
Opening hours Mon - Fri 8:00 - 16:30,
UTC +3 time zone

Tel. +358 20 722 7070
Opening hours Mon - Fri 9:00 - 11:00 and 12:00 - 15:00,
UTC +3 time zone