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Sbârciog Mihaela Iuliana


BioControl (Biosystems Modeling and Control)


• Mathematical modeling and parameter estimation of biological systems
• Model-based optimization and control of biological systems
• State estimation (software sensors) for biological systems
• Biological network analysis (metabolic flux analysis, flux balance analysis, flux variability analysis), especially for underdetermined systems (more unknown fluxes than available equations)
• Typical applications : microorganism (yeast, bacteria) or animal cell cultures in bioreactor (batch, fed-batch, perfusion) in the framework of agro-food and biopharmaceutical industries


SuNuP - Optimization of the microorganism fermentation and drying conditions for the production of dry and active sourdoughs, starters and probiotics

Research context

The goal of the SuNuP project is to understand the mechanisms involved in microorganism resistance to drying through an analytical integrated approach: from the lab-scale cultures in mini-bioreactors to pilot scale drying. Funded by Wagralim, the agri-food innovation cluster in Wallonia region, the project consortium is made of 

- 3 academic partners:

o 3BIO-BioControl –Biosystems Modeling and Control lab at Université libre de Bruxelles (modeling, identification, state estimation and optimization of biological cultures)
o TIPs –Transfers, Interfaces and Processes lab at Université libre de Bruxelles (characterization and modeling of phenomena involved in drying processes)
o MiPI –Microbial Processes and Interactions lab at Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech (single-cell analysis of microbial populations and bioreactor cultures)

- 2 industrial partners:

o Vésale Pharma (microorganism encapsulation and probiotic production)
o Puratos (yeast and sourdough fermentation) –project coordinator


The main objectives at 3BIO-BioControl will be to
- build dynamical models of mono-and co-cultures of lactic acid bacteria and/or yeast for predicting, as a function of the operating conditions (especially the bioreactor feeding), microorganism growth, substrate consumption, metabolite production and stress protectant accumulation (for yeast);
- provide mathematical modeling and analysis of the interaction/competition mechanisms in the case of co-cultures of lactic acid bacteria and yeast;
- determine, based on the dynamical models, the optimal operating conditions for maximizing the microorganism growth rate and, in the case of yeast cultures, for maximizing the accumulation of stress protectants;
- build   software   sensors (state estimators) for   the   online   monitoring   of   the   stress   protectant accumulation in yeast.