Having now seen the various types of bioreactors used in SSF processes (Chap. 3) and the transport phenomena that occur within them (Chap. 4), we now return to the question of how the limitations on the efficiency of the transport phenomena within the bioreactor make it almost impossible to operate large-scale bioreactors in such a manner that the conditions within the substrate bed are maintained throughout the process at the optimum values for growth and product formation.

Is it really difficult to design an efficiently operating large-scale SSF bioreactor? In the case of SLF, there are examples of successfully operating bioreactors of hundreds of thousands of liters. Why cannot we do the same for SSF processes? Or can we? The answer is that the challenges in operating a bioreactor of several hundreds of thousands of liters are typically more difficult to overcome in SSF than in SLF, and it is no simple matter to develop efficient large-scale SSF bioreactors. This difficulty, often referred to as "the scale-up problem", is discussed in the following sections.

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