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Biotechnol Bioeng. 1997 Jan 20;53(2):191-201.

Morphological characterization of filamentous microorganisms in submerged cultures by on-line digital image analysis and pattern recognition.

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Institut für Systemdynamik und Regelungstechnik, Universität Stuttgart, Pfaffenwaldring 9, D-70550 Stuttgart, Germany.


The morphology of filamentous microorganisms in submerged culture is of great interest. On the one hand, morphology influences rheology and mass transfer in the fermentation broth. On the other hand, morphology could be a visible expression of physiology and metabolism of the microorganisms. An algorithm for the morphological characterization and the estimation of biomass of filamentous microorganisms by means of digital image analysis has been developed. After measurement of eight features the objects in the broth are classified into different morphological classes, i.e., pellet aggregates, rough pellets, smooth pellets, mycelial flocks, and medium components. The classification is based on the measured object parameters and a knowledge base, which was generated in a preceding training phase. The method was tested on Streptomyces tendae Tü 901/8c. A typical batch fermentation in a defined medium is presented. It could be shown that both morphology and physiology have been changed in the course of the fermentation, especially during the transition from trophophase to idiophase. In order to supervise the fermentation processes continuously, an on-line image analysis system has been developed. Sampling, dilution, and image acquisition of the culture were performed under the control of a personal computer.

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