Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol.43, No.4, 585-589, 1995
Repeated-Batch Fermentation in Biofilm Reactors with Plastic-Composite Supports for Lactic-Acid Production
Novel plastic supports consisting of polypropylene blended with oat hulls/soybean flour or oat hulls/zein were evaluated as supports for mixed- and pure-culture, repeated-batch, lactic acid fermentations in biofilm reactors. Streptomyces viridosporus T7A (ATCC 39115) was used to form a biofilm for mixed-culture fermentations, and Lactobacillus casei subsp. rhamnosus (ATCC 11443) was used for L-lactic acid production. The pure- and mixed-culture biofilm reactors were operated as repeated-batch fermenters with pH controlled at 5 for more than 2 months in which each reactor’s medium was changed every 3 days for 24 batches. The plastic-composite supports performed better than polypropylene-alone supports. Significantly (P < 0.05) higher concentrations of lactic acid were produced by the mixed- and pure-culture biofilm bioreactors with corresponding plastic-composite supports (55 g/l and 60 g/l respectively) than with polypropylenealone supports (48 gil for both mixed and pure culture). However, the percentage yields, maximum productivity, glucose consumption rates, and growth rates (based on the mass of suspended cells only) were not significantly different between reactors. Maximum lactic acid concentration was consistently greater for the plastic-composite support biofilm reactors. In the suspension culture at pH 5 without plastic supports, maximum lactic acid concentration at days 3 and 5 was 48 g/l and 60 g/l, respectively. These results confirm that the use of plastic-composite supports is recommended for pure-culture lactic acid production in long-term repeated-batch fermentation, and that cell immobilization was occurring.