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J Biosci Bioeng. 2000;90(4):363-7.

Maximizing yellow pigment production in fed-batch culture of Monascus sp.

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  • 1Department of Biotechnology, Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka University, 2-1 Yamada-oka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.


Yellow pigment production in exponential fed-batch cultivation of Monascus sp. was studied. Due to the difficulty of measuring the optical density for accurate determination of the cell concentration, a capacitance probe was employed on-line. The feed rate needed to keep the specific growth rate, mu, constant in fed-batch culture was determined on the basis of the cell concentration measured by the capacitance probe. Control of mu was improved by using updated information on the cell concentration compared with the simple feed-forward determination method using the initial cell concentration only. The highest specific pigment production rate was achieved with a mu of 0.02 h(-1) in the feeding phase. However, among several fermentation examined, the largest pigment production in the final step was obtained at a mu of 0.01 h(-1); in each case the same amount of substrates was used. An investigation of the optimal initial glucose concentration revealed that pigment production was maximum when the initial glucose concentration in the batch mode was 10 g/l and mu was 0.01 h(-1) in the fed-batch mode. It was also found that the pellet weight in the fermentation could be accurately estimated by image analysis. The ratio of the mycelium weight to the total cell weight estimated from information on the total cell weight and the estimated pellet weight was found to be more than 80%. However, no clear quantitative relationship could be discerned between the specific pigment production rate, rho, and the ratio of mycelium in the cell population.

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