Key Issues Associated with SSF Bioreactors

The last section of the book addresses several key issues in the operation of SSF bioreactors. Chapter 26 describes various process variables that we might like to monitor during the fermentation and gives suggestions for equipment that might be used to do this. It also addresses the question of data filtering, which is essential in order to eliminate random noise from the measured data.

Of course, one of the reasons that we might like to monitor the fermentation is to be able to undertake control actions in order to maintain the conditions in the bioreactor as near as possible to the optimum conditions for growth and product formation. Process control is a complex science. Chapter 27 introduces the basic principles of process control, at a level aimed for the non-engineer, although it is impossible to do this without presenting at least a few complicated mathematical equations! Chapter 28 then describes how control schemes can be applied to SSF bioreactors. It will become clear that this is an area that is still quite rudimentary and needs much more development.

Finally, a key step in the operation of an SSF bioreactor is the supply of air at an appropriate flow rate, temperature, and humidity. Chapter 29 describes how the air preparation system can be designed to do this and various related issues such as the selection of the air blower and the need for filtration. It will become clear that it is not an easy task to adjust the flow rate, temperature, and humidity of the air, independently, without building highly sophisticated systems. It presents a case study of the development of an air preparation system for a pilot-scale SSF biore-actor.

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