A juice extractor can simplify the downstream processing of plant-derived biopharmaceutical proteins compared to blade-based homogenizers
•Juice extraction from tobacco leaves increases protein concentrations by ∼3-fold.•Juice extraction reduces process volumes by 80% compared to blender extraction.•Total process costs can be reduced by 10–30% using juice extraction.•Juice extraction allows continuous processing and is easy to scale up.•Juice extraction is compatible with flocculation and the heat precipitation of host cell proteins.
The production of biopharmaceutical proteins using plant-based systems has recently become economically competitive with conventional expression platforms based on microbes and mammalian cells, but downstream processing remains a significant cost factor. Here we report that, depending on the protein expression level, production costs for biopharmaceuticals made in plants can be reduced by up to 30% if a juice extractor is used instead of a blade-based homogenizer or blender. Although the extraction efficiency is lower, combining extraction and solid–liquid separation into a single operation reduces the extract volume by 80%, which achieves savings of ∼60% for downstream consumables and labor. Additionally, juice extraction can easily be scaled-up to process several tons of biomass per day and its continuous mode of operation simplifies downstream processing steps because the volume of storage tanks and the duration of hold times are reduced. The juicer setup is also compatible with flocculation and to some extent with leaf blanching, which increase the efficiency of extract clarification and product purification, respectively. The use of juicers can therefore significantly increase the competitiveness of plant-based production platforms.
Journal: Process Biochemistry - Volume 50, Issue 5, May 2015, Pages 859–866