Microbial fermentation is the growth of a microorganism, usually a bacterium, yeast, or filamentous fungus in a liquid medium to transform one material into another using the microbe’s metabolism as the manufacturing process to result in a commercial product. That product can be microbial cell mass, a product contained within the microbe, or a product that is excreted by the microbe into the liquid growth medium. Microbial fermentation has many applications, but in the most general sense, it involves the conversion of organic substances in a substrate or nutrient mixture by the metabolic activity of a microorganism. Many different genera and species of microorganisms may be used, including bacteria, yeasts, and molds, and the process may occur in an aerobic or anaerobic environment. In industrial applications, the desired product from a microbial fermentation may be the biomass itself (e.g. Quorn from Fusarium venenatum) or it may be a metabolite (e.g. vinegar from lactic acid bacteria). Numerous other everyday items are made using microbial fermentations to support different industries such as nutritional supplements, cosmetics, personal care items, and pharmaceuticals. The scale of microbial fermentation set ups vary considerably, but generally, in the case of a nutrient mixture conversion, the process takes place in a stirred tank bioreactor. Meanwhile, specially designed reactors are used for fermentations that can convert a solid substrate.
An expert in microbial fermentation should have sound knowledge of microbiology, biochemistry, fermenter design and operation, bioprocessing, and analytical chemistry.
From a process design and technological standpoint, there is considerable know-how with regards to microbial fermentation, from the bench all the way to the industrial scale. An expert in microbial fermentation can assist in many areas including initial feasibility analyses, selecting a microorganism, and developing, troubleshooting, and optimizing a process.
Among its 150+ experts, Lee Enterprises Consulting has a wide range of services in bioenergy, biomaterials and chemicals, biotechnologies, and feedstocks. We certainly have specialists in microbial fermentation. In fact, our biotechnology experts handle things like, anaerobic digestion, biomass technologies, fermentation, gasification, catalysis, torrefaction, pyrolysis, carbonization, bioreactors, renewable hydrogen & renewable natural gas technologies, carbon capture & storage, waste to energy technologies, wastewater and water treatment, gas-to liquids, hydrothermal and thermochemical conversions, syngas generation, bioplastics/polymers, fluidization, Fischer-Tropsch, direct combustion and power generation technologies, bio-fabricated proteins, synthetic biology, nutraceuticals, food products technology, aquaculture, and many other types of emerging technologies in the chemical, renewable/cleantech, and synthetic biology sectors.
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