The rate of heat evolution (kcal/liter-hr) in mycelial fermentations for novobiocin and cellulase production with media containing noncellular solids was measured by an in situ dynamic calorimetric procedure. Thermal data so obtained have proved significant both in monitoring cell concentration during the trophophase (growth phase) and in serving as a physiological variable in the fermentation process. The validity of this technique has been demonstrated by closing the overall material and energy balances.
The maintenance energy in a batch fermentation can also be calculated by integrating heat evolution data. This integration method is applicable to a fermentation lacking a precise cell growth curve. The maintenance coefficient, obtained for the novobiocin fermentation by Streptomyces niveus, is equal to 0.028 g glucose equivalent/g cell-hr. The production of novobiocin in the idio-phase (production phase) also correlates well with the amount of energy catabolixed for maintenance and this results in an observed conversion yield of glucose to novobiocin of 11.8 mg of novobiocin produced per gram of glucose catabolized.
A new physiological variable, kilocalories of heat evolved per millimole of oxygen consumed, has been proposed to monitor the state of cells during the fermentation. This method may provide a simple way to monitor on-line shifts in the efficiency of cell respiration and changes in growth yields during a microbial process.