Fermentation as basic operation of Biotechnology

Biotechnology is regarded as a key technology of the 21st century. One of its main applications is the use of living organisms like bacteria, fungi, yeasts, plant cells, viruses, and mammalian cells and their products.


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One of the tasks of fermentation is to synthesize chemical compounds by using enzymes, bacteria, fungi or yeasts. New applications have been made possible due to recent advances and new insights in many fields of biotechnology, for example the function of micro-organisms in the microbiology, improvements in sterilization and cultivation of cells, as well as targeted genetic manipulation to produce high-performance organisms. Needless to say, mixing technology has made a substantial contribution. Modern fermentation processes are used to obtain substances such as enzymes, active pharmaceutical ingredients, amino acids and vitamins as metabolites from micro-organisms. Many of these production processes are carried out most effectively in agitated fermenters.


Process requirements & challenges

In fermentation processes, the development is facing increases in productivity and maximum fermenter volumes (economy of scales). The production of secondary metabolites can also result in fermentation broths with very high viscosities and extreme, non-newtonian behavior.

Consequently, the challenges for the fermenter in combination with the agitator system are rising with respect to homogenization of the fermentation broth, heat transfer and air dispersion.


EKATO’s know-how

In order to achieve a successful scale-up from lab into production scale, EKATO offers its comprehensive know-how. Ideally, the collaboration already starts in the phase of lab-scale tests. In this case, EKATO can also assist in planning tests and analyzing the results, in order to get the necessary information for an optimal scale-up of both process and geometrical parameters.

The choice of the agitator system and the fermenter geometry, together with the heat transfer elements and baffles, can be accompanied by a numerical flow simulation (CFD). In order to enable a safe and failure-free operation of all fermenter components, the mechanical scale up can be assured by a Finite Element Analysis (FEA).

In case of special demands for sterile design, EKATO offers the solution for the fermenter internals but also special sterile designs for sealing systems.

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