Glossary - - BioPharm International



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prokaryotes Simple organisms with no cell nuclei and very few cell organelles.

proteolytic Capable of lysing (denaturing, or breaking down) proteins.

recombinant Containing genetic material from another organism. Genetically altered microorganisms are usually referred to as recombinant, whereas plants and animals so modified are called transgenic (see transgenics).

restriction enzyme An bacterial enzyme that cuts DNA molecules at the location of particular sequences of base pairs.

ribosome Cell organelles that translate RNA to build proteins.

serum The watery portion of an animal or plant fluid (such as blood) remaining after coagulation. When cheese is made, whey is the milk serum that's left.

somatic cell In higher organisms, a cell that (unlike germ cells) carries the full genetic make-up of an organism.

sparge To spray. A sparger is a component of a fermentor that sprays air into the broth.

supernatant Literally, material floating on the surface of a liquid mixture (often the liquid component that has the lowest density). In biotechnology, it generally refers to the liquid portion of a culture broth after the cells have been removed.

tissue culture Growing plant or animal tissues outside of the body, as in a nutrient medium in a laboratory; similar to cell culture, but cells are maintained in their structured, tissue form.

titer A measured sample. (To draw a measured, representative sample from a larger amount is to titrate.)

transgenics The alteration of plant or animal DNA so that it contains a gene from another organism. There are two types of cells in animals and plants, germ line cells (the sperm and egg in animals, pollen and ovule in plants) and somatic cells (all of the other cells). It is the germ-line DNA that is altered in transgenic animals and plants, so those alterations are passed on to offspring.

translation The process by which information transferred from DNA by RNA specifies the sequence of amino acids in a polypeptide (protein) chain.

TSE (Transmissable Spongiform Encephalopathy) A class of brain-wasting diseases caused by prions, including scrapie (sheep), Mad Cow Disease (cattle), chronic wasting disease (elk, deer) kuru (humans), and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD, humans).

turbulent flow field The state that results from mixing the contents of a fermentor or bioreactor to provide oxygen to the cells. That must be balanced against the shear that causes cell damage and death.

vector The plasmid, virus, or other vehicle used to carry a DNA sequence into the cell of another species.

vessel jacket A method for controlling the temperature of liquid in a vessel. The vessel is surrounded by a double-walled jacket through which liquid or steam flows to cool (or heat) the vessel. Vessel jackets can cause uneven heating (hot or cold spots), shell-and-tube or plate-and-frame heat exchangers are more common in biopharmaceutical production systems.

viability Life and health, ability to grow and reproduce; a measure of the proportion of live cells in a population.

virus The simplest form of life: RNA or DNA wrapped in a shell of protein, sometimes with a means of injecting that genetic material into a host organism (infection). Viruses cannot reproduce on their own, but require the aid of a host.

viscosity Thickness of a liquid; determines its internal resistance to shear forces.

water-for-injection Very pure water suitable for medical uses.

yeast A single-celled fungus.

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