Commercial agreement with technical assistance partnership for design of pilot plant for bacterial cellulose production

A company from Latvia operated by scientists, researchers and engineers develops new products and processes in biotechnology. The company is planning to build a bacterial cellulose (BC) pilot-plant to scale up the production of BC. For this purpose it is seeking a partner with corresponding competences. The pilot-plant should be cost effective and highly automated. The company is looking for commercial agreement with technical assistance.
Biomaterials and biopolymers are gaining considerable importance as potential environmentally friendly materials that provide a wide range of application in different fields. Bacterial cellulose (BC) – an exopolysaccharide synthesised by certain strains of acetic acid bacteria (AAB) – is widely recognised as one of these materials. BC is known for its properties that include high purity, flexibility, high water holdings capacity, durability, high polymerisation degree, hydrophilicity, high crystallinity, mouldability in different shapes, and biomimetic 3D nano matrix – a network which resembles an extracellular matrix and high biocompatibility. Moreover, the fibrous structure of BC can serve as a matrix for composite materials, thus providing additional properties to the composite such as hydrophobicity, flexibility, increased mechanical strength, antimicrobial, magnetic and conducting properties, which are not present in pure BC itself. Because of these properties BC has a potential application in such fields as biomedicine, food industry, packaging materials, electronics and cosmetics and can be used to produce high value eco-friendly products with the properties of outstanding existing products. Currently the company from Latvia produces BC in a small-scale at laboratory. In order to achieve higher BC production volumes, improved fermentation process efficiency and greater production capacity, design and construction of a pre-industrial production plant is necessary. The company is seeking for a partner, e.g. technology centre to design and make a pilot plant for BC fermentation in a pilot-plant scale. The collaboration form sought is commercial agreement with technical assistance.
Type (e.g. company, R&D institution…), field of industry and Role of Partner Sought: 
The type of partner sought: industry, R&D organisation, technology centre. The tasks to be performed by the partner sought: Development of pilot plant design. Development of production process from laboratory scale to pilot plant level, with a possibility to optimize it further for industrial production process.
Technical Specification or Expertise Sought: 
Requirements for the pilot-plant: 1. Pilot plant must be cost efficient, bioreactor type, ensure growth substance preparation, process sterility, and optimised cultivation. 2. Allow to produce up to 10-20 kg of wet BC per cultivation cycle. 3. Systems for pH and temperature measurements must be provided. 4. Include oxygen supply and temperature control systems for cultivation of bacteria. Expertise in industrial production of bacterial polymers should be provided.
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