Upstream and downstream processing developments are terms related to Bioprocessing, particularly in the context of pharmaceutical industry. Bioprocessing refers to production of desired products from live cells or their components.
The upstream processing is the bioprocessing phase in which cell lines are generated, i.e. biomass is produced at appreciable scale. The downstream processing, on the other hand, is the phase that deals with extraction or separation of desired products from the biomass (developed in upstream processing).
In the upstream processing, the incoulum is developed (by isolating and purifying cells), growth medium is developed, the growth kinetics is improved for mass-scale product generation. Once the appropriate cell density is reached, the culture is moved to downstream processing. This phase involves separation of biomass from inoculum (by centrifugation or filtration), cell disruption (if needed, to collect intracellular components), dewatering and purification of products.