Industrial fermentation

Industrial fermentation

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Industrial fermentation is the intentional use of fermentation
Fermentation (biochemistry)
Fermentation is the process of extracting energy from the oxidation of organic compounds, such as carbohydrates, using an endogenous electron acceptor, which is usually an organic compound. In contrast, respiration is where electrons are donated to an exogenous electron acceptor, such as oxygen,...

 by microorganism
A microorganism or microbe is a microscopic organism that comprises either a single cell , cell clusters, or no cell at all...

s such as bacteria
Bacteria are a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals...

 and fungi to make products useful to humans. Fermented products have applications as food
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals...

 as well as in general industry
Industry refers to the production of an economic good or service within an economy.-Industrial sectors:There are four key industrial economic sectors: the primary sector, largely raw material extraction industries such as mining and farming; the secondary sector, involving refining, construction,...


Food fermentation

Ancient fermented food processes, such as making bread
Bread is a staple food prepared by cooking a dough of flour and water and often additional ingredients. Doughs are usually baked, but in some cuisines breads are steamed , fried , or baked on an unoiled frying pan . It may be leavened or unleavened...

, wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

, cheese
Cheese is a generic term for a diverse group of milk-based food products. Cheese is produced throughout the world in wide-ranging flavors, textures, and forms....

, curds, idli, dosa
Dosa or Dhosai is a fermented crepe or pancake made from rice batter and black lentils. It is indigenous to and is a staple dish in the southern Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu, as well as being popular in Sri Lanka...

, etc., can be dated to more than 6,000 years ago
5th millennium BC
The 5th millennium BC saw the spread of agriculture from the Near East throughout southern and central Europe.Urban cultures in Mesopotamia and Anatolia flourished, developing the wheel. Copper ornaments became more common, marking the Chalcolithic. Animal husbandry spread throughout Eurasia,...

. They were developed long before man had any knowledge of the existence of the microorganism
A microorganism or microbe is a microscopic organism that comprises either a single cell , cell clusters, or no cell at all...

s involved. Fermentation is also a powerful economic incentive for semi-industrialized countries, in their willingness to produce bio-ethanol.

Pharmaceuticals and the biotechnology industry

There are 5 major groups of commercially important fermentation:
  1. Microbial cell
    Cell (biology)
    The cell is the basic structural and functional unit of all known living organisms. It is the smallest unit of life that is classified as a living thing, and is often called the building block of life. The Alberts text discusses how the "cellular building blocks" move to shape developing embryos....

    s or biomass
    Biomass, as a renewable energy source, is biological material from living, or recently living organisms. As an energy source, biomass can either be used directly, or converted into other energy products such as biofuel....

     as the product, e.g. single cell protein
    Single cell protein
    Single-cell protein typically refers to sources of mixed protein extracted from pure or mixed cultures of algae, yeasts, fungi or bacteria used as a substitute for protein-rich foods, in human and animal feeds....

    , bakers yeast, lactobacillus
    Lactobacillus is a genus of Gram-positive facultative anaerobic or microaerophilic rod-shaped bacteria. They are a major part of the lactic acid bacteria group, named as such because most of its members convert lactose and other sugars to lactic acid. They are common and usually benign...

    , E. coli, etc.
  2. Microbial enzyme
    Enzymes are proteins that catalyze chemical reactions. In enzymatic reactions, the molecules at the beginning of the process, called substrates, are converted into different molecules, called products. Almost all chemical reactions in a biological cell need enzymes in order to occur at rates...

    s: catalase
    Catalase is a common enzyme found in nearly all living organisms that are exposed to oxygen, where it catalyzes the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide to water and oxygen...

    , amylase
    Amylase is an enzyme that catalyses the breakdown of starch into sugars. Amylase is present in human saliva, where it begins the chemical process of digestion. Food that contains much starch but little sugar, such as rice and potato, taste slightly sweet as they are chewed because amylase turns...

    , protease
    A protease is any enzyme that conducts proteolysis, that is, begins protein catabolism by hydrolysis of the peptide bonds that link amino acids together in the polypeptide chain forming the protein....

    , pectinase
    Pectinase is a general term for enzymes, such as pectolyase, pectozyme and polygalacturonase, commonly referred to in brewing as pectic enzymes. These break down pectin, a polysaccharide substrate that is found in the cell walls of plants. One of the most studied and widely used commercial...

    , glucose isomerase
    Glucose isomerase
    -Other functions:There is evidence that phosphoglucose isomerase acts as a molecular messenger. It is produced and secreted by white blood cells, and acts to regulate the growth of several different cell types.-Pathology:...

    , cellulase
    400px|thumb|right|alt = Colored dice with checkered background|Ribbon representation of the Streptomyces lividans beta-1,4-endoglucanase catalytic domain - an example from the family 12 glycoside hydrolases...

    , hemicellulase, lipase
    A lipase is an enzyme that catalyzes the formation or cleavage of fats . Lipases are a subclass of the esterases.Lipases perform essential roles in the digestion, transport and processing of dietary lipids in most, if not all, living organisms...

    , lactase
    Lactase , a part of the β-galactosidase family of enzymes, is a glycoside hydrolase involved in the hydrolysis of the disaccharide lactose into constituent galactose and glucose monomers...

    , streptokinase
    Streptokinase , a protein secreted by several species of streptococci can bind and activate human plasminogen. SK is used as an effective and inexpensive thrombolysis medication in some cases of myocardial infarction and pulmonary embolism...

    , etc.
  3. Microbial metabolite
    Metabolites are the intermediates and products of metabolism. The term metabolite is usually restricted to small molecules. A primary metabolite is directly involved in normal growth, development, and reproduction. Alcohol is an example of a primary metabolite produced in large-scale by industrial...

    s :
    1. Primary metabolites – ethanol
      Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs. Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is also used in thermometers, as a...

      , citric acid
      Citric acid
      Citric acid is a weak organic acid. It is a natural preservative/conservative and is also used to add an acidic, or sour, taste to foods and soft drinks...

      , glutamic acid
      Glutamic acid
      Glutamic acid is one of the 20 proteinogenic amino acids, and its codons are GAA and GAG. It is a non-essential amino acid. The carboxylate anions and salts of glutamic acid are known as glutamates...

      , lysine
      Lysine is an α-amino acid with the chemical formula HO2CCH4NH2. It is an essential amino acid, which means that the human body cannot synthesize it. Its codons are AAA and AAG....

      , vitamin
      A vitamin is an organic compound required as a nutrient in tiny amounts by an organism. In other words, an organic chemical compound is called a vitamin when it cannot be synthesized in sufficient quantities by an organism, and must be obtained from the diet. Thus, the term is conditional both on...

      s, polysaccharide
      Polysaccharides are long carbohydrate molecules, of repeated monomer units joined together by glycosidic bonds. They range in structure from linear to highly branched. Polysaccharides are often quite heterogeneous, containing slight modifications of the repeating unit. Depending on the structure,...

      s etc.
    2. Secondary metabolites: all antibiotic
      An antibacterial is a compound or substance that kills or slows down the growth of bacteria.The term is often used synonymously with the term antibiotic; today, however, with increased knowledge of the causative agents of various infectious diseases, antibiotic has come to denote a broader range of...

  4. Recombinant products: insulin
    Insulin is a hormone central to regulating carbohydrate and fat metabolism in the body. Insulin causes cells in the liver, muscle, and fat tissue to take up glucose from the blood, storing it as glycogen in the liver and muscle....

    , HBV, interferon
    Interferons are proteins made and released by host cells in response to the presence of pathogens—such as viruses, bacteria, or parasites—or tumor cells. They allow communication between cells to trigger the protective defenses of the immune system that eradicate pathogens or tumors.IFNs belong to...

    , GCSF, streptokinase
    Streptokinase , a protein secreted by several species of streptococci can bind and activate human plasminogen. SK is used as an effective and inexpensive thrombolysis medication in some cases of myocardial infarction and pulmonary embolism...

  5. Biotransformations: phenyl acetyl carbinol, steroid
    A steroid is a type of organic compound that contains a characteristic arrangement of four cycloalkane rings that are joined to each other. Examples of steroids include the dietary fat cholesterol, the sex hormones estradiol and testosterone, and the anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone.The core...

    Biotransformation is the chemical modification made by an organism on a chemical compound. If this modification ends in mineral compounds like CO2, NH4+, or H2O, the biotransformation is called mineralisation....

    , etc.

Nutrient sources for industrial fermentation

Growth media are required for industrial fermentation, since any microbe requires water, (oxygen), an energy source, a carbon source, a nitrogen source and micronutrients for growth.

Carbon & energy source + nitrogen source + O2 + other requirements → Biomass + Product + byproducts + CO2 + H2O + heat
Nutrient Raw material
Glucose is a simple sugar and an important carbohydrate in biology. Cells use it as the primary source of energy and a metabolic intermediate...

corn sugar, starch
Starch or amylum is a carbohydrate consisting of a large number of glucose units joined together by glycosidic bonds. This polysaccharide is produced by all green plants as an energy store...

, cellulose
Cellulose is an organic compound with the formula , a polysaccharide consisting of a linear chain of several hundred to over ten thousand β linked D-glucose units....

Sucrose is the organic compound commonly known as table sugar and sometimes called saccharose. A white, odorless, crystalline powder with a sweet taste, it is best known for its role in human nutrition. The molecule is a disaccharide composed of glucose and fructose with the molecular formula...

Sugarcane refers to any of six to 37 species of tall perennial grasses of the genus Saccharum . Native to the warm temperate to tropical regions of South Asia, they have stout, jointed, fibrous stalks that are rich in sugar, and measure two to six metres tall...

, sugar beet
Sugar beet
Sugar beet, a cultivated plant of Beta vulgaris, is a plant whose tuber contains a high concentration of sucrose. It is grown commercially for sugar production. Sugar beets and other B...

Molasses is a viscous by-product of the processing of sugar cane, grapes or sugar beets into sugar. The word molasses comes from the Portuguese word melaço, which ultimately comes from mel, the Latin word for "honey". The quality of molasses depends on the maturity of the sugar cane or sugar beet,...

Glycerol is a simple polyol compound. It is a colorless, odorless, viscous liquid that is widely used in pharmaceutical formulations. Glycerol has three hydroxyl groups that are responsible for its solubility in water and its hygroscopic nature. The glycerol backbone is central to all lipids...

Starch or amylum is a carbohydrate consisting of a large number of glucose units joined together by glycosidic bonds. This polysaccharide is produced by all green plants as an energy store...

Lactose is a disaccharide sugar that is found most notably in milk and is formed from galactose and glucose. Lactose makes up around 2~8% of milk , although the amount varies among species and individuals. It is extracted from sweet or sour whey. The name comes from or , the Latin word for milk,...

milk whey
Whey or Milk Serum is the liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained. It is a by-product of the manufacture of cheese or casein and has several commercial uses. Sweet whey is manufactured during the making of rennet types of hard cheese like cheddar or Swiss cheese...

Fats consist of a wide group of compounds that are generally soluble in organic solvents and generally insoluble in water. Chemically, fats are triglycerides, triesters of glycerol and any of several fatty acids. Fats may be either solid or liquid at room temperature, depending on their structure...

vegetable oils
Hydrocarbons petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

Proteins are biochemical compounds consisting of one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form, facilitating a biological function. A polypeptide is a single linear polymer chain of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of...

The soybean or soya bean is a species of legume native to East Asia, widely grown for its edible bean which has numerous uses...

 meal, corn steep liquor
Corn steep liquor
Corn steep liquor is a by-product of corn wet-milling. It is an important constituent of some growth media. It was used in the culturing of Penicillium during research into penicillin, by American microbiologist Andrew J. Moyer. It is an excellent source of organic nitrogen. ....

, distillers' solubles
Ammonia is a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen with the formula . It is a colourless gas with a characteristic pungent odour. Ammonia contributes significantly to the nutritional needs of terrestrial organisms by serving as a precursor to food and fertilizers. Ammonia, either directly or...

pure ammonia or ammonium salts
The nitrate ion is a polyatomic ion with the molecular formula NO and a molecular mass of 62.0049 g/mol. It is the conjugate base of nitric acid, consisting of one central nitrogen atom surrounded by three identically-bonded oxygen atoms in a trigonal planar arrangement. The nitrate ion carries a...

nitrate salts
Phosphorus source phosphate salts
Vitamins and growth factors
Yeast, Yeast extract
Wheat germ meal, cotton seed meal
Beef extract
Corn steep liquor

Trace element
Trace element
In analytical chemistry, a trace element is an element in a sample that has an average concentration of less than 100 parts per million measured in atomic count, or less than 100 micrograms per gram....

s: Fe, Zn, Cu, Mn, Mo, Co

Antifoaming agents :
Esters, fatty acids, fats, silicones, sulphonates, polypropylene glycol

Buffering agent
A buffering agent is a weak acid or base used to maintain the acidity of a solution at a chosen value. The function of a buffering agent is to prevent a rapid change in pH when acids or bases are added to the solution. Buffering agents have variable properties—some are more soluble than others;...

s: Calcium carbonate, phosphates

Growth factor
Growth factor
A growth factor is a naturally occurring substance capable of stimulating cellular growth, proliferation and cellular differentiation. Usually it is a protein or a steroid hormone. Growth factors are important for regulating a variety of cellular processes....

Some microorganisms cannot synthesize the required cell components themselves and need to be supplemented, e.g. with thiamine
Thiamine or thiamin or vitamin B1 , named as the "thio-vitamine" is a water-soluble vitamin of the B complex. First named aneurin for the detrimental neurological effects if not present in the diet, it was eventually assigned the generic descriptor name vitamin B1. Its phosphate derivatives are...

, biotin
Biotin, also known as Vitamin H or Coenzyme R, is a water-soluble B-complex vitamin discovered by Bateman in 1916. It is composed of a ureido ring fused with a tetrahydrothiophene ring. A valeric acid substituent is attached to one of the carbon atoms of the tetrahydrothiophene ring...

, calcium pentothenate

Precursor (chemistry)
In chemistry, a precursor is a compound that participates in the chemical reaction that produces another compound. In biochemistry, the term "precursor" is used more specifically to refer to a chemical compound preceding another in a metabolic pathway....

Directly incorporated into the desired product: Phenyl ethylamine into Benzyl penicillin, Phenyl acetic acid into Penicillin G

Enzyme inhibitor
An enzyme inhibitor is a molecule that binds to enzymes and decreases their activity. Since blocking an enzyme's activity can kill a pathogen or correct a metabolic imbalance, many drugs are enzyme inhibitors. They are also used as herbicides and pesticides...

To get the specific products: e.g. sodium barbital
Barbital , also called barbitone, was the first commercially marketed barbiturate. It was used as a sleeping aid from 1903 until the mid-1950s. The chemical names for barbital are diethylmalonyl urea or diethylbarbituric acid...

 for rifamycin
The rifamycins are a group of antibiotics that are synthesized either naturally by the bacterium Amycolatopsis mediterranei or artificially. They are a subclass of the larger family Ansamycin...

In molecular biology, an inducer is a molecule that starts gene expression.For a gene to be expressed, its DNA sequence must be copied to make a smaller, mobile molecule called messenger RNA , which carries the instructions for making a protein to the site where the protein is manufactured...

The majority of the enzymes used in industrial fermentation are inducible and are synthesized in response of inducers: e.g. starch for amylases, maltose for pollulanase, pectin for pectinase,olive oil and tween are also used at times.

Chelators are the chemicals used to avoid the precipitation of metal ions. Chelators like EDTA
Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, widely abbreviated as EDTA , is a polyamino carboxylic acid and a colourless, water-soluble solid. Its conjugate base is named ethylenediaminetetraacetate. It is widely used to dissolve limescale. Its usefulness arises because of its role as a hexadentate ligand...

, citric acid
Citric acid
Citric acid is a weak organic acid. It is a natural preservative/conservative and is also used to add an acidic, or sour, taste to foods and soft drinks...

, polyphosphate
Triphosphates are salts or esters of polymeric oxyanions formed from tetrahedral PO4 structural units linked together by sharing oxygen atoms. When two corners are shared the polyphosphate may have a linear chain structure or a cyclic ring structure. In biology the polyphosphate esters AMP, ADP...

s are used in low concentrations.

Sewage disposal

In the process of sewage disposal, sewage is digested by enzymes secreted by bacteria.
Solid organic matters are broken down into harmless, soluble substances and carbon dioxide.
Liquids that result are disinfected to remove pathogens before being discharged into rivers or the sea or can be used as liquid fertilisers.
Digested solids, known also as sludge, is dried and used as fertilisers.
Gaseous by-products such as methane, can be utilised as biogas to fuel generators.
One advantage of bacterial digestion is that it reduces the bulk and odour of sewage, thus reducing space needed for dumping, on the other hand, a major disadvantage of bacterial digestion in sewage disposal is that it is a very slow process.

Phases of microbial growth

When a particular organism is introduced into a selected growth medium, the medium is inoculated with the particular organism. Growth of the inoculum does not occur immediately, but takes a little while. This is the period of adaptation, called the lag phase.
Following the lag phase, the rate of growth of the organism steadily increases, for a certain period--this period is the log or exponential phase.
After a certain time of exponential phase, the rate of growth slows down, due to the continuously falling concentrations of nutrients and/or a continuously increasing (accumulating) concentrations of toxic substances. This phase, where the increase of the rate of growth is checked, is the deceleration phase.
After the deceleration phase, growth ceases and the culture enters a stationary phase or a steady state. The biomass remains constant, except when certain accumulated chemicals in the culture lyse the cells (chemolysis). Unless other micro-organisms contaminate the culture, the chemical constitution remains unchanged. Mutation of the organism in the culture can also be a source of contamination, called internal contamination.

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