Scale-down and optimization studies of the gluconic acid fermentation by Gluconobacter oxydans

Authors

  • N. M. G. Oosterhuis,

    1. Laboratory of Biotechnology, Department of Chemical Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Julianalaan 67, 2628 BC Delft, The Netherlands
    Current affiliation:
    1. Suiker Unie Research, P.O. Box 1308, 4700 BH Roosendaal, The Netherlands
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  • N. W. F. Kossen,

    1. Laboratory of Biotechnology, Department of Chemical Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Julianalaan 67, 2628 BC Delft, The Netherlands
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  • A. P. C. Olivier,

    1. Laboratory of Biotechnology, Department of Chemical Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Julianalaan 67, 2628 BC Delft, The Netherlands
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  • E. S. Schenk

    1. Laboratory of Biotechnology, Department of Chemical Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Julianalaan 67, 2628 BC Delft, The Netherlands
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Abstract

To simulate production-scale conditions of gluconic acid fermentation by Gluconobacter oxydans, different experimental setups are presented in this study. From the determination of the time constants of a production-scale reactor, it can be concluded that mixing and oxygen transfer are the rate-limiting mechanisms. This results in oxygen concentration gradients which were simulated in a one-compartment reactor in which the oxygen concentration was fluctuated by a fluctuated gassing with air and nitrogen. It could be concluded that only very long periods of absence of oxygen (ca. 180 s) results in lower specific oxygen uptake rates by Gluconobacter oxydans. From scale-down studies carried out in a two-compartment system to simulate a production-scale reactor more accurately, it could be concluded that not only the residence time in the aerated part of the system is important, but the liquid flow in between the different parts of the reactor is also an essential parameter. It could also be concluded that the microorganisms are not influenced negatively by the fluctuated oxygen concentrations with respect to their maximal oxidation capacity. The two-compartment system can also be used for optimization experiments in which the “aerated” compartment was gassed with pure oxygen. From these experiments it was concluded that also a short residence of the cells at high oxygen concentrations diminished the growth and product formation rates. These experiments show the necessity of the scale-down experiments if optimization is carried out. The two-compartment system presented in this study is a very attractive tool for reliable scale-down experiments.

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