Microprocess Engineering Research Group, established in 2007 within the Chair of Chemical Process, Environmental and Biochemical Engineering of the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology of University of Ljubljana, works in the field of transport phenomena, nanoparticle generation, biotransformations, downstream processing, and integrated processes within the microflow systems. A special interest was devoted to biocatalyst immobilization in microreactors. Both, whole cells and enzymes of different classes (hydrolases, transferases, oxidases) were immobilized in microstructured devices based on various approaches. They encompass surface whole cell immobilization (Stojkovič and Žnidaršič-Plazl, 2010; Stojkovič and Žnidaršič-Plazl, 2012; Stojkovič et al. 2014; Miložič et al., 2018) and cell immobilization in hydrogel layers (Menegatti et al., 2019), as well as enzyme immobilization in microchannels via specific tags (Miložič et al., 2017; Miložič et al., 2018), packed bed enzymatic microreactors (Bajić et al., 2017; Strniša et al, 2018) and enzyme entrapment in hydrogel layers (Menegatti et al., 2021). Recently, enzyme immobilization on functionalized nanofibers via His6 tags is under investigation.

The group expertise involves enzyme expression and characterization, microreactor design and set-up, continuous biotransformations, and mathematical description of the process enabling its optimization and reactor performance prediction. Mathematical modeling comprises conventional macro scale process description (Žnidaršič-Plazl and Plazl, 2009; Tišma et al, 2009), as well as meso-scale and multi-scale modeling (Strniša et al, 2018; Strniša et al, 2020). Among the goals of the group is development of microfluidics-based downstream processing of biomacromolecules (Žnidaršič-Plazl and Plazl, 2007; Seručnik et al., 2020; Strniša et al, 2020) and integration of downstream processes with the microreactor systems (Novak and Žnidaršič-Plazl, 2013), also in a meso-scale flow-through systems (Novak et al, 2016).

In microreactors convection and diffusion transport of species my be precisely determined, because the flow regimes are well controlled. Studying and modeling of the transport phenomena enables us to design and improve microfluidic devices (Strniša et al., 2020).