Cultivation of E. coli in single- and ten-stage tower-loop reactors.

Research paper by I I Adler, K K Schügerl

Indexed on: 01 Feb '83Published on: 01 Feb '83Published in: Biotechnology and Bioengineering


E. Coli was cultivated in batch and continuous operations in the presence of an antifoam agent in stirred-tank and in single- and ten-stage airlift tower reactors with an outer loop. The maximum specific growth rate, mu(m), the substrate yield coefficient, Y(x/s), the respiratory quotient, RQ, substrate conversion, U(s), the volumetric mass transfer coefficient, K(L)a, the specific interfacial area, a, and the specific power input, P/V(L), were measured and compared. If a medium is used with a concentration of complex substrates (extracts) 2.5 times higher than that of glucose, a spectrum of C sources is available and cell regulation influences reactor performance. Both mu(m) and Y(X/S), which were evaluated in batch reactors, cannot be used for continuous reactors or, when measured in stirred-tank reactors, cannot be employed for tower-loop reactors: mu(m) is higher in the stirred-tank batch than in the tower-loop batch reactor, mu(m) and Y(x/s) are higher in the continuous reactor than in the batch single-stage tower-loop reactor. The performance of the single-stage is better than that of the ten-stage reactor due to the inefficient trays employed. A reduction of the medium recirculation rate reduces OTR, U(s), Pr, and Y(X/S) and causes cell sedimentation and flocculation. The volumetric mass transfer coefficient is reduced with increasing cultivation time; the Sauter bubble diameter, d(s), remains constant and does not depend on operational conditions. An increase in the medium recirculation rate reduces k(L)a. The specific power input, P/V(L), for the single-stage tower loop is much lower with the same k(L)a value than for a stirred tank. The relationship k(L)a vs. P/V(L) evaluated for model media in stirred tanks, can also be used for cultivations in these reactors.