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Adv Biochem Eng Biotechnol. 2014;146:123-61. doi: 10.1007/10_2013_267.

Application of biofilm bioreactors in white biotechnology.

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Institute of Bioprocess Engineering, University of Kaiserslautern, Gottlieb-Daimler-Stra├če 49, 67663, Kaiserslautern, Germany.


The production of valuable compounds in industrial biotechnology is commonly done by cultivation of suspended cells or use of (immobilized) enzymes rather than using microorganisms in an immobilized state. Within the field of wastewater as well as odor treatment the application of immobilized cells is a proven technique. The cells are entrapped in a matrix of extracellular polymeric compounds produced by themselves. The surface-associated agglomerate of encapsulated cells is termed biofilm. In comparison to common immobilization techniques, toxic effects of compounds used for cell entrapment may be neglected. Although the economic impact of biofilm processes used for the production of valuable compounds is negligible, many prospective approaches were examined in the laboratory and on a pilot scale. This review gives an overview of biofilm reactors applied to the production of valuable compounds. Moreover, the characteristics of the utilized materials are discussed with respect to support of surface-attached microbial growth.

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