Economic analysis of pilot-scale production of B-phycoerythrin
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© 2016 American Institute of Chemical Engineers ß-Phycoerythrin is a color protein with several applications, from food coloring to molecular labeling. Depending on the application, different purity is required, affecting production cost and price. Different production and purification strategies for B-phycoerythrin have been developed, the most studied are based on the production using Porphyridium cruentum and purified using chromatographic techniques or aqueous two-phase systems. The use of the latter can result in a less expensive and intensive recovery of the protein, but there is lack of a proper economic analysis to study the effect of using aqueous two-phase systems in a scaled-up process. This study analyzed the production of B-Phycoerythrin using real data obtained during the scale-up of a bioprocess using specialized software (BioSolve, Biopharm Services, UK). First, a sensitivity analysis was performed to identify critical parameters for the production cost, then a Monte Carlo analysis to emulate real processes by adding uncertainty to the identified parameters. Next, the bioprocess was analyzed to determine its financial attractiveness and possible optimization strategies were tested and discussed. Results show that aqueous two-phase systems retain their advantages of low cost and intensive recovery (54.56%); the costs of production per gram calculated (before titer optimization: US$15,709 and after optimization: US$2,374) allowed to obtain profit (in the range of US$millions in a 10-year period) for a potential company taking this production method by comparing the production cost against commercial prices. The bioprocess analyzed is a promising and profitable method for the generation of a highly purified B-phycoerythrin. © 2016 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 32:1472¿1479, 2016.