Biomechatronic Design in Biotechnology by Carl-Fredrik Mandenius and Mats Bjorkman, Wiley, 2011, 304 pages, ISBN 978-0-470-57334-1

Felix Lenk*, * Dresden University of Technology, Bioprocess Engineering, Dresden, Germany

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Over the past few years the field of biotechnological products, with roots in the fields of both mechanics and electronics, has achieved rapid advances in systematic design principles and methodology. The Swedish authors Carl-Fredrik Mendenius and Mats Björkman's book Biomechatronic Design in Biotechnology aims to link aspects of biotechnology with mechanical and electrical engineering.

The content of the book is structured into two parts. The first part containing four chapters outlines the fundamentals of biomechatronic design dealing with the theory of conceptual design, biotechnology, mechatronic design, and the methodology for the use of mechatronic design tools. This concise and well-structured introduction of the basic terms and concepts shows the reader how to develop a conclusive approach to identify interrelationships between these fields, as well as how to analyze and abstract them. This is then followed by the identification of the essential biomechatronic design problems together with the organization of the development process of biotechnological products. Furthermore the first part of the book also covers the structuring of different methods of mechatronic design tools such as Hubka-Eder mapping, the use of function interaction matrices, design structure matrices as well as the anatomical blueprint. Consequently the authors briefly describe how electronics, mechanics and biotechnology overlap and why it is necessary to synthesize all three fields into biomechatronics.

Biomechatronic Design in Biotechnology links aspects of biotechnology with mechanical and electrical engineering

The second part, applications, composed of nine chapters provides hands-on examples for the development of biotechnological devices and methods. The first chapter, dedicated to blood glucose sensors, is a perfect basic example of the development process. The chapter starts with background information and a list of specifications such as analytical devices the reader should possess. The chapter goes on to outline various conceptual designs, different systems and environments involved, and the required user specifications. This chapter is followed by the highly interesting topic of the construction of a surface plasmon resonance (SPR) biosensor device. Every part of this detection system is analyzed from a design perspective during the development process of the system, meanwhile potential strategies for improvement are proposed. While the SPR technologies are well described and thoroughly analyzed, the processes described only take the Biacore system from GE Healthcare and the SPREETA system from Texas Instruments into account. The book would have benefitted from a comparison with other systems.

The next chapter in the second part addresses the very specific topic of the development process of a diagnostic device for Helicobacter pylori infection, a gastrointestinal infection that can cause gastritis with abdominal pain (stomach ache) or nausea. Several available testing methods are described in this chapter and their advantages are also compared. This chapter is followed by a mechatronic analysis of the urea breath test system in order to generate a collection of design alternatives. Once again, the various systems required are described and aspects of the design for efficient manufacturing are discussed. Similarly structured to other chapters, Chapter 8 discusses the design of microarray devices and concentrates on the needs and target specifications for DNA microarrays. Consequently the tools presented in the fundamentals sections are applied towards this conceptual design problem.

The chapter on microbial and cellular bioreactors contains interesting insights and clever conclusions

In chapter 9, on microbial and cellular bioreactors, a more intensive and detailed example is given that includes not only a distinctive system analysis but also a study of the interactions of the systems ordered by the different types of bioreactors and their application ranges from stem cell bioreactors to novel bioreactor systems. This must-read chapter contains lots of interesting insights and clever conclusions. For those interested in the topic, the research article by the same authors may also be relevant [1].

The next chapter is dedicated to chromatographic protein purification. In this chapter three different processes are explained: batch, membrane and chromatography configurations. The whole design process of stem cell manufacturing is outlined in chapter 11, which focuses on scale-up problems and the setup of a biomechatronic conceptual design. Bio-artificial organ-simulating devices is the topic of chapter 12 and mimics a living human or animal organ by recreating its essential functions. These devices can be used for the testing of new pharmaceuticals in vitro. In contrast to bioreactor systems described in earlier chapters, this is a far more advanced technology and its needs and specifications are more diverse. The authors conclude that for such a specific device the formulation of a clear mission is most important during the design process and outline the strategy. While this chapter is fairly short it is well written and points out the direction of research in terms of drug testing method development.

The book finishes with a chapter on process analytical technology (PAT) and quality-by-design (QbD) approaches. In this very interesting section of the book, the authors describe the different perspectives for an appropriate PAT process such as interscientific understanding and knowledge management (see also [2]). QbD and PAT approaches are synthesized into the conceptual design methodology (e.g. Hubka-Eder mapping).

Biomechatronic Design in Biotechnology effectively presents the methodology and the necessary tools for a design process in biotechnology

This book effectively presents the methodology and most of the necessary tools for a design process in biotechnology. I thus recommend this book to students who want to learn the fundamentals and basic applications of a product design process quickly. It is also a good read for professors, researchers and professionals from both engineering and biology in order to get helpful input for their own device or method developments. In conclusion, this book is a must-read for all modern bio-scientists and engineers working in the field of biotechnology.

Felix Lenk

Dresden University of Technology, Bioprocess Engineering, Dresden, Germany


About the authors

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Professor Carl-Fredrik Mandenius (left) is head of the Division of Biotechnology at Linkoping University in Sweden. His main research interests include biochemical and bio-production engineering, bioprocess monitoring and control, stem cell technology, and biosensor technology. He was a director for process R&D at Pharmacia AB and has coordinated several EU networks on human embryonic stem cell-derived models for drug testing.

Professor Mats Björkman (right) is head of the Division of Assembly Technology at Linkoping University in Sweden. His main research interests include design and operation of flexible manufacturing systems and equipment. He has also been involved in research that has developed from traditional mechanical industries to include areas such as electronic manufacturing and manufacturing of biotech equipment, as well as pharmaceutical products.


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