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An approach is proposed for optimization and control of batch processes. Given a process model and a performance index to be minimized, the optimal path along which the process is desirable to evolve is calculated. A nonlinear cascade control system is used to force the process to evolve along the off-line calculated optimal path in the state space. The control system can use all the useful, available, frequent and infrequent (on-line and off-line) process measurements to ensure the optimal operation, especially in the presence of disturbances. The application and performance of the proposed approach are illustrated by numerical simulation of a fed-batch fermentor example.