New Article on Model Predictive Control for the Manipulation of ATP Turnover of Bioprocesses Appeared in the AIChE Journal

"Maximizing batch fermentation efficiency by constrained model-based optimization and predictive control of ATP turnover"


Sebastián Espinel-Ríos, Katja Bettenbrock, Steffen Klamt, Rolf Findeisen


We present a constrained model-based optimization and predictive control framework to maximize the production efficiency of batch fermentations based on the core idea of manipulating adenosine triphosphate (ATP) wasting. In many bioprocesses, enforced ATP wasting – rerouting ATP use towards an energetically possibly suboptimal path – allows increasing the metabolic flux towards the product, thereby enhancing product yields and specific productivities. However, this often comes at the expense of lower biomass yields and reduced volumetric productivities. To maximize the overall efficiency, we formulate ATP wasting as a model-based optimal control problem. This allows for balancing trade-offs between different objectives such as product yield and volumetric productivity for batch fermentations. Unlike static metabolic control, one obtains a higher degree of flexibility, adaptability, and competitiveness. This can be advantageous towards achieving a sustainable and economically efficient biotechnology industry. To compensate for model-plant mismatch, disturbances, and uncertainties, we propose not only solving the optimal control problem once. Instead, we exploit the concept of moving horizon model predictive control combined with constraint-based dynamic modelling to capture the fermentation dynamics. The approach is underlined considering the industrially relevant bioproduction of lactate by Escherichia coli.We discuss practical challenges for the described control strategy and provide an outlook towards future developments.