Eng Life Sci. 2022 May 18;22(7):474-483. doi: 10.1002/elsc.202100094. eCollection 2022 Jul.
This study introduced an automated long-term fermentation process for fungals grown in pellet form. The goal was to reduce the overgrowth of bioreactor internals and sensors while better rheological properties in the fermentation broth, such as oxygen transfer and mixing time, can be achieved. Because this could not be accomplished with continuous culture and fed-batch fermentation, repeated-batch fermentation was implemented with the help of additional bioreactor internals (“sporulation supports”). This should capture some biomass during fermentation. After harvesting the suspended biomass, intermediate cleaning was performed using a cleaning device. The biomass retained on the sporulation support went through the sporulation phase. The spores were subsequently used as inocula for the next batch. The reason for this approach was that the retained pellets could otherwise cause problems (e.g., overgrowth on sensors) in subsequent batches because the fungus would then show undesirable hyphal growth. Various sporulation supports were tested for sufficient biomass fixation to start the next batch. A reproducible spore concentration within the range of the requirements could be achieved by adjusting the sporulation support (design and construction material), and an intermediate cleaning adapted to this.