GLOSSARY: Downstream Processing

Downstream Processing refers to the recovery and purification of biosynthetic products, particularly pharmaceuticals, from natural sources such as animal or plant tissue or fermentation broth, including the recycling of salvageable components and the proper treatment and disposal of waste. It is an essential step in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics, hormones (e.g. insulin and human growth hormone), antibodies (e.g. infliximab and abciximab) and vaccines; antibodies and enzymes used in diagnostics; industrial enzymes; and natural fragrance and flavor compounds. Downstream processing is usually considered a specialized field in biochemical engineering.