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Keywords:

  • pressurized bioreactors;
  • oxygen mass transfer rate;
  • cellular growth;
  • product formation;
  • reactive oxygen species;
  • antioxidant enzymes

In industrial biotechnology, microbial cultures are exposed to different local pressures inside bioreactors. Depending on the microbial species and strains, the increased pressure may have detrimental or beneficial effects on cellular growth and product formation. In this review, the effects of increased air pressure on various microbial cultures growing in bioreactors under moderate total pressure conditions (maximum, 15 bar) will be discussed. Recent data illustrating the diversity of increased air pressure effects at different levels in microbial cells cultivation will be presented, with particular attention to the effects of oxygen and carbon dioxide partial pressures on cellular growth and product formation, and the concomitant effect of oxygen pressure on antioxidant cellular defense mechanisms. © 2014 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 30:767–775, 2014