Genome scale metabolic modelling linked bioreactor control system (2021 ‒ 2023)





Project No.


Source of funding: European Regional Development Fund Specific Objective 1.1.1 “Improve research and innovation capacity and the ability of Latvian research institutions to attract external funding, by investing in human capital and infrastructure” measure “Industry-Driven Research”. Project application selection round No.4.

Project period: 01.06.2021. – 30.11.2023. (30 months) 

Total budget: 540 000 EUR (444 366 EUR from ERDF funding)

Project leader: Senior researcher Egils Stalidzans,


Developoment of  a novel type of bioreactor control system with implemented measurable markers of economically, environmentally and socially sustainable metabolic steady states. The metabolic states of used organisms will be selected by analysis of genome scale mathematical modelling of microbial metabolism.


Currently the production of industrial chemicals from petroleum is dominant and fundamentally unsustainable because petroleum is a non-renewable feedstock and the production and use of petrochemicals contribute significantly to both pollution and climate change. At the same time is estimated that production of 75% of drug molecules and 25% of all chemicals could be made via bioprocessing from renewable bioresources or biowaste to replace fossil resources. The biotechnology with annual growth rate of 7% is expected to reach turnover 50 BEUR by 2030. The GenCon project proposes to consider economic, environmental and societal sustainability aspects of biotechnological production during the design of biotechnological process. Measurable markers of desired production mode will be integrated in the new type of bioreactor control system to ensure practical realization of designed bioprocess. Intensive mathematical modelling and computation will be used to select the best solution among the immense space of opportunities.


The project will address the Smart Specialization Strategy’s (RIS3) priority area Knowledge intensive bioeconomy, and several target groups will exploit the project’s results.

The main activities of the project include genome scale metabolic modelling of microorganisms to identify and implement the economically, environmentally and socially most efficient biotransformation setup (model based media composition and/or changes in the reaction network of an organism) into the control system of a bioreactor to ensure sustainable industrial realisation of biotransformation. The approach will be tested in case studies using well-known biotechnological organisms as fermentation process candidates: Bacillus subtilis for production of Riboflavin (vitamin B2), Escherichia coli for amino acid triptophane production and Pichia pastoris for recombinant protein production. The novel bioreactor control system will be tested during the project as proof of concept. As a result, a novel bioreactor control system development technology will be delivered as a new technology prototype (TRL4).

The lab-scale production will be implemented together with the industrial partner – experienced producer of bioreactors, JSC Biotehniskais centrs, established in 1996.







Stalidzans E., Dace E. (2021) Sustainable metabolic engineering for sustainability optimisation of industrial biotechnology, Computational and Structural Biotechnology, 19, 4770-4776.