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Biotechnol Bioeng. 2009 Jan 1;102(1):113-21. doi: 10.1002/bit.22043.

Parameter oscillation attenuation and mechanism exploration for continuous VHG ethanol fermentation.

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Department of Bioscience and Bioengineering, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian 116023, China.


A bioreactor system composed of a stirred tank and three tubular bioreactors in series was established, and continuous ethanol fermentation was carried out using a general Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain and a very high gravity medium containing 280 g L(-1) glucose, supplemented with 5 g L(-1) yeast extract and 3 g L(-1) peptone. Sustainable oscillations of glucose, ethanol, and biomass were observed when the tank was operated at the dilution rate of 0.027 h(-1), which significantly affected ethanol fermentation performance of the system. After the tubular bioreactors were packed with 1/2'' Intalox ceramic saddles, the oscillations were attenuated and quasi-steady states were achieved. Residence time distributions were studied for the packed bioreactors by the step input response technique using xylose as a tracer, which was added into the medium at a concentration of 20 g L(-1), indicating that the backmixing alleviation assumed for the packed tubular bioreactors could not be established, and its contribution to the oscillation attenuation could not be verified. Furthermore, the role of the packing's yeast cell immobilization in the oscillation attenuation was investigated by packing the tubular bioreactors with packings with significant difference in yeast cell immobilization effects, and the experimental results revealed that only the Intalox ceramic saddles and wood chips with moderate yeast cell immobilization effects could attenuate the oscillations, and correspondingly, improved the ethanol fermentation performance of the system, while the porous polyurethane particles with good yeast cell immobilization effect could not. And the viability analysis for the immobilized yeast cells illustrated that the extremely lower yeast cell viability within the tubular bioreactors packed with the porous polyurethane particles could be the reason for their inefficiency, while the yeast cells loosely immobilized onto the surfaces of the Intalox ceramic saddles and wood chips could be renewed during the fermentation, guaranteeing their viability and making them more efficient in attenuating the oscillations. The packing Raschig rings without yeast cell immobilization effect did not affect the oscillatory behavior of the tubular bioreactors, further supporting the role of the yeast cell immobilization in the oscillation attenuation.

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