Fermentation Equipment and its Application
- Fermentation can be defined as a metabolic process in which raw materials such as sugar or carbohydrates are converted into acids, gases and alcohols. Micro-organisms such as yeast and bacteria play a central role in the fermentation process.
- Fermentation process requires a fermentor, substrate, inoculum and optimum conditions.
- The equipment used to carry out fermentation is called a fermentor.
- A fermentor can be defined as an equipment or a vessel in which fermentation process is carried out.
- A fermentor is a complex machine. It is used to create optimum conditions that are necessary for the fermentation process.
Design of a fermentor
- A fermentor should be large enough to allow creation of fermentor bacteria.
- The material used in the manufacture of a fermentor should be strong enough to tolerate the pressures of fermentation media and gases produced.
- The material should be non-corrosive.
- It should not contribute toxic ions or substances to the fermentation media, because these toxic ions can harm the growth of microbial culture.
- It should have an inlet for oxygen and outlet for carbon dioxide in case aerobic microbes are used for fermentation.
- It should be completely sealed from outside environment to avoid contamination.
- It should be easily sterilize.
- It should provide a facility to add anti-foaming agents as well as a temperature controlling system.
- A pH detecting system is also important. An outlet for the withdrawal of media for determination of pH as well as inlet for addition of acids and alkalis should be provided. It is important to maintain pH at optimum levels for growth of culture.
- The most important thing is that a fermentor should provide aseptic means of withdrawal of fermented product and introduction of culture samples.
- The fermentor facilitate the stirring of media so that inoculum and fermentation media mix properly. It also ensures that the gases required for growth of microbial culture are available to all microbes.
Types of Fermentors and its Uses
1. Laboratory Scale fermentor
- It is the smallest type of fermentor.
- Capacity of this fermentor is minimum one to two litres and maximum up to twelve to fifteen litres.
- It is used for research and development purposes.
- Laboratory scale fermentor is used for determination of optimum condition of growth and biosynthesis of micro-organism.
2. Pilot scale fermentor
- Pilot scale fermentor are of intermediate size.
- It is used in large scale studies of fermentation process.
- The minimum size range is of 25 to 100 gallons that is 94 litres to 378 litres.
- The maximum size range is 2000 gallons that is 7570 litres.
3. Industrial scale fermentor
- Industrial fermentor is a large scale fermentor. It is used in industries for fermentation of industrially important product.
- The minimum size range is 5000 gallons to 10,000 gallons that is 18927.06 litres to 37854.12 litres.
- The maximum size range 10,0000 gallons that is 378541.18.
This was the overview of fermentor and important aspects that are considered under fermentation process but there are important aspects that are carried out during fermentation process.
- Media formulation
- Inoculum preparation
- Sterilization of nutrient media and preparation of media.
- Fermentation process
- Waste disposal