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Bioprocess intensification using supported bacteria in flow-trough monolithic micro-bioreactors

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Teresa Ndlovu, Professor Galip Akay, Emeritus Professor Alan Ward


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Process Intensification (PI) aims to reduce reactor volume by 10 fold or more and is achieved by: the superimposition of two or more processing fields such as various types of flow, centrifugal, sonic and electric fields; by operating under ultra-high processing conditions (such as deformation rate and pressure); by combining superimposition and ultra high process conditions; by providing selectivity; or by extending interfacial area or capacity for transfer processes. In heat and mass transfer operations, drastic reduction in diffusion/conduction path results in equally impressive transfer rates. As the processing volume (such as reactor size) is reduced by several orders of magnitude, the processing equipment ultimately becomes miniaturised. PI in biotechnology has certain inherent restrictions in terms of allowed 'intensification fields', or PI-driving forces, such as temperature, pressure, concentration of reactants/products, mechanical stresses or deformation rates, and electric fields. The process intensification fields/driving forces mentioned above are commonly used in chemical process intensification, often in combination. Chemical process intensification increases with increasing field strength and therefore, the PI is only limited by the reactor engineering. However, in most cases, the intensification fields described above cannot be used in Bioprocess Intensification (BI). With these restrictions on the type of PI-driving forces, Bioprocess Intensification can therefore be achieved, in the first instance, through the reduction of the diffusion path for the reactants and products, and through the creation of the most suitable environment for the biocatalysts and microorganisms, which can enhance selectivity, resulting in phenomenon based intensification. It is likely that optimisation of the strength and type of intensification field will be required in Bioprocess Intensification. Recently, we have shown that BI can be achieved through the immobilization of bacteria in the micro-pores of nano-structured micro-porous polymers which alters the metabolic activity of the bacteria. This phenomenon is similar to that observed for mammalian cells. The observed bioprocess intensification can be over 30 fold compared with the best existing technology. The production of natural product antibiotics is a major sector in biotechnology, and there is pressure both from high operating costs and the demand for new antibiotics for BI. In this study, we use "Streptomyces coelicolor" A3(2) and observe its growth characteristics and antibiotic production rates when grown within a 3-Dimensional support system, to develop a flow through monolithic micro-bioreactor, and compare the results with conventional batch fermentation, in terms of productivity and growth behaviour.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ndlovu TM, Akay G, Ward A

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: CHISA: 17th International Congress of Chemical and Process Engineering

Year of Conference: 2006

Pages: no. 385

Publisher: Czech Society of Chemical Engineering


Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 8086059456