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Biotechnol Prog. 2001 Mar-Apr;17(2):336-47.

A quantitative approach to characterizing cell lysis caused by mechanical agitation of Streptomyces clavuligerus.

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Control Laboratory, Faculty of Information Technology and Systems, Delft University of Technology, P.O. Box 5031, 2600 GA Delft, The Netherlands.


Streptomyces clavuligerus is a commercially important actinomycete that is used to produce clavulanic acid, a beta-lactamase inhibitor. Observations during 10 batch cultivations with S. clavuligerus on defined media have led to the finding that the organism is very sensitive to shear when grown in batch cultures with increasing stirrer speed. The stirrer speed was increased to keep the dissolved oxygen level above 50% air saturation. A quantitative approach based on the calculation of elemental balances and a simple mathematical model is proposed to characterize the biomass lysis. Finally, a linear relation between biomass yield and observed specific growth rate is determined. Results show that cell lysis occurs at a high degradation rate, e.g., mu(max) = 0.16 h(-1) and k(d) = 0.07 h(-1), when the gassed power input increases above 1.1, 1.7, or 2.0 kW/m(3), respectively, depending on the medium composition. The overall biomass yield on substrate is dramatically reduced in all experiments (>30%).

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