Temperature control in a continuously mixed bioreactor for solid-state fermentation

F.J.J.I. Nagel, J. Tramper, M.S.N. Bakker, A. Rinzema

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)


A continuously mixed, aseptic paddle mixer was used successfully for solid-state fermentation (SSF) with Aspergillus oryzae on whole wheat kernels. Continuous mixing improved temperature control and prevented inhomogeneities in the bed. Respiration rates found in this system were comparable to those in small, isothermal, unmixed beds, which showed that continuous mixing did not cause serious damage to the fungus or the wheat kernels. Continuous mixing improves heat transport to the bioreactor wall, which reduces the need for evaporative cooling and thus may help to prevent the desiccation problems that hamper large-scale SSF. However, scale-up calculations for the paddle mixer indicated that wall cooling becomes insufficient at the 2-m3 scale for a rapidly growing fungus like Aspergillus oryzae. Consequently, evaporative cooling will remain important in large-scale mixed systems. Experiments showed that water addition will be necessary when evaporative cooling is applied in order to maintain a sufficiently high water activity of the solid substrate. Mixing is necessary to ensure homogeneous water addition in SSF. Automated process control might be achieved using the enthalpy balance. The enthalpy balance for the case of evaporative cooling in the paddle mixer was validated. This work shows that continuous mixing provides promising possibilities for simultaneous control of temperature and moisture content in solid-state fermentation on a large scale.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-230
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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