Workflow at DTU Biosustain


We follow a unique workflow that allows us to generate and convert data into practical knowledge used for the design of microbial production strains.

A central scientific discipline at DTU Biosustain is metabolic engineering, which involves design and genetic reprogramming of the metabolic processes of microorganisms like bacteria, yeast and fungi to produce biochemicals, pharmaceuticals and food ingredients.

Using metabolic engineering and our unique workflow, we create novel methods and technologies as a foundation for the development of new environment friendly products, better and less energy-consuming manufacturing processes, new medical treatments and climate friendly farming. These new ways will define the next generation of microbial cell factories, which will be instrumental in the transition to a bio-based society. By providing a research environment with state-of-the-art technologies and top scientists from all over the world, we are building the knowledge to solve some of the biggest challenges in the history of mankind.


The iterative workflow at DTU Biosustain can be categorised into five distinct components:

  1. The Design-Build-Test-Learn (DBTL): This iterative workflow (our Biofoundry) develops production strains and answers key scientific questions that form the basis for our designs.
  2. Design Teams: Our Strain Design Teams run specific design projects through the Biofoundry to meet the goals of the DTU Biosustain application areas.
  3. Research Groups: Our research groups strive to address specific objectives related to DTU Biosustain’s three application areas that have a notable effect on sustainability: sustainable chemicals, natural products (bioactives), and microbial food.
  4. Translational approach: The Center has a strong entrepreneurial culture, including a Pre-Pilot Plant, an active industrial partnering programme and formal relationships with Danish innovation incubators (such as the BioInnovation Institute in Copenhagen) to enable translation of its achievements into the commercial area.
  5. Integrated Informatics Platform: This platform underpins the combined set of workflow activities by providing an infrastructure (data lake, data bases), content (knowledge), and software applications that convert data into practical knowledge.

The Design-Build-Test-Learn (DBTL) iterative workflow consist of four principal steps:

  1. Design by genetic manipulation of the organism
  2. Build the system to identify the producers by phenotyping
  3. Test the cell by generating ‘omics’ data
  4. Learn by mapping onto genome-scale models for analysis and decision-making