Intensified Fermentation Processes and Equipment

H. J. Noorman*, W. Van Winden, J. J. Heijnen, R. G.J.M. Van Der Lans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter deals with fermentation processes, converting low cost renewable feedstocks into valuable bio-products, with the help of microorganisms or mammalian cells in bioreactors or fermenters. In industrial vessels, the volumetric conversion rate, i.e. the fermentation intensity, is limited by a transport step: mass transfer, liquid mixing or cooling. In special processes where the growth of the cells is marginal, intensification is possible by active cell retention. A comparison with chemical process intensification reveals that the same four main principles are valid, i.e. (1) maximize the rate at optimal selectivity, (2) minimize the impact of substrate concentration gradients, shear rate gradients and other local differences, (3) relieve the transport limitations and (4) arrange smart integration of operation steps of which cell retention is the most important. In essence, optimized microorganisms in fermentations can be viewed as efficient, smartly integrated cell factories. The main principles are illustrated with four intensification examples, showing that debottlenecking of the oxygen transfer capacity is most important, followed by liquid mixing. The limits of fermentation intensity have been estimated for fed-batch fermentations supplied with air or pure oxygen and point at significant optimization space. In contrast, aerobic continuous fermentation is expected to remain difficult due to fundamental restrictions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntensification of Biobased Processes
EditorsA. Gorak, A. Gorak, A. Stankiewicz
PublisherRoyal Society of Chemistry
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-78801-457-1
ISBN (Print)978-1-78262-855-2
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameRSC Green Chemistry
ISSN (Print)1757-7039
ISSN (Electronic)1757-7047
  • Mixing in bioreactor vessels

    van 't Riet, K. & van der Lans, RGJM., 2011, Comprehensive Biotechnology, Second Edition. Moo-Young, M. (ed.). 2 ed. s.l.: Elsevier, Vol. 2. p. 63-80 18 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientific

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