The advancement of bioprocess monitoring will play a crucial role to meet the future requirements of bioprocess technology. Major issues are the acceleration of process development to reduce the time to the market and to ensure optimal exploitation of the cell factory and further to cope with the requirements of the Process Analytical Technology initiative. Due to the enormous complexity of cellular systems and lack of appropriate sensor systems microbial production processes are still poorly understood. This holds generally true for the most microbial production processes, in particular for the recombinant protein production due to strong interaction between recombinant gene expression and host cell metabolism. Therefore, it is necessary to scrutinise the role of the different cellular compartments in the biosynthesis process in order to develop comprehensive process monitoring concepts by involving the most significant process variables and their interconnections. Although research for the development of novel sensor systems is progressing their applicability in bioprocessing is very limited with respect to on-line and in-situ measurement due to specific requirements of aseptic conditions, high number of analytes, drift, and often rather low physiological relevance. A comprehensive survey of the state of the art of bioprocess monitoring reveals that only a limited number of metabolic variables show a close correlation to the currently explored chemical/physical principles. In order to circumvent this unsatisfying situation mathematical methods are applied to uncover "hidden" information contained in the on-line data and thereby creating correlations to the multitude of highly specific biochemical off-line data. Modelling enables the continuous prediction of otherwise discrete off-line data whereby critical process states can be more easily detected. The challenging issue of this concept is to establish significant on-line and off-line data sets. In this context, online sensor systems are reviewed with respect to commercial availability in combination with the suitability of offline analytical measurement methods. In a case study, the aptitude of the concept to exploit easily available online data for prediction of complex process variables in a recombinant E. coli fed-batch cultivation aiming at the improvement of monitoring capabilities is demonstrated. In addition, the perspectives for model-based process supervision and process control are outlined.