The Engineering Effects of Fluids Flow on Freely Suspended Biological Macro-Materials and Macromolecules

  • S. S. Yim
  • P. A. Shamlou
Part of the Advances in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology book series (ABE, volume 67)


The manufacture of many biotechnologically important products requires consideration of the physical breakage and biochemical degradation pathways at all stages during processing, storage and transportation. The engineering flow environment in most items of bioprocess equipment has long been recognised as a key factor in determining these pathways and is the focus of the present review. Because of its industrial significance, the detrimental effects of the engineering flow environment on freely suspended bioparticles have been the subject of many scientific investigations over the past few decades. There is a general consensus of opi- nion that fluid shear and elongational stresses are the two main breakage pathways of rele- vance to processing of most biomaterials. An additional degradation pathway has also been identified involving significant losses of biological activity of macromolecules at gas-liquid, gas-solid and liquid-liquid interfaces. In such cases, the engineering flow field is shown to have a secondary role in determining the kinetics of inactivation. An equally important con- sideration in the optimisation of the relevant unit operations is the biomechanical integrity of the flow sensitive material. The biomechanical and biorheological parameters that deter- mine the integrity of biomaterials are poorly defined, their evaluations present future re- search challenges and are of immediate engineering significance.


Shear effects Biological macromaterials Process equipment 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. S. Yim
    • 1
  • P. A. Shamlou
    • 1
  1. 1.The Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering, Department of Biochemical EngineeringUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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