Application of image analysis in the fungal fermentation of Trichoderma reesei RUT-C30



Trichoderma reesei was grown in a stirred-tank bioreactor (STB) and a reciprocating plate bioreactor (RPB) at four different agitation speeds. A semiautomatic image analysis protocol that was developed to characterize the mycelium morphology during the fermentation process based on four morphological types (unbranched, branched, entangled, and clumped microorganisms) was applied to study the effect of agitation on the morphology of T. reesei. It was shown via statistical validation that broth samples used for image analysis represented the whole population of the fungi in the bioreactor. High shear was found to be damaging to T. reesei grown in the STB. The gentler shear produced in the RPB was not detrimental to the microorganism even at higher agitation speed. Better productivity was obtained for T. reesei grown in the STB and the highest productivity, 0.121 IU/mL h, was obtained at 400 rpm. The morphological parameter, the hyphal growth unit, was found to be correlated to the productivity. Understanding the effect of agitation on the morphology and productivity of T. reesei could lead to the design of better bioreactors and the selection of operating conditions of bioreactors to optimize the production of cellulase. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 2011.