Bioreactors and Fermenters

Bioreactors and fermenters are vessels or tanks in which raw materials are converted into biochemical products through the activity of living cells, microorganisms, or cellular components such as enzymes under controlled conditions. The reactors are used in a variety of applications, including basic research and development, and the manufacture of biopharmaceuticals, food and food additives, chemicals, and other products. Various types of cells and microorganisms such as animal cells, plant cells, bacteria, and algae can be cultured in bioreactors and fermenters. The term fermenter is often used in the culture of bacteria, yeast or fungi, and the term bioreactor is usually associated with the culture of mammalian and plant cells.

Bioreactors and fermenters are typically cylindrical in size from liters to cubic meters, and consist of pipes, fittings, wires, and sensors. Their ability to produce the desired products is an important consideration in design. The variables such as temperature, nutrient composition, pH, and oxygen, which affect the growth and productivity of organisms, can be monitored and controlled in real time in bioreactors and fermenters. The design of bioreactors and fermenters depends on enabling the microbe or cell to perform the desired function under optimal conditions and with limited production of impurities. Vessels for small-scale bioreactors are usually made of glass, whereas those for larger bioreactors are made of stainless steel. The reactors are usually the heart of many biotechnology systems used in agricultural, environmental, industrial, and medical applications. They can be applied for biomass production (e.g., single-cell proteins, Baker's yeast, animal cells, microalgae), metabolite formation (e.g., organic acids, ethanol, antibiotics, aromatic compounds, pigments), transformation of substrates (such as steroids) or even the production of active cellular molecules.

Common bioreactors are stirred-tank, airlift, and fixed-bed types. Stirred-tank bioreactors are the most widely used bioreactors that equipped with impellers for homogenization of the medium and spargers for delivery of oxygen to the cells. Airlift bioreactors are tower reactors based on the draught tube principle. Their design provides energy-efficient mass transfer for substrate delivery and product removal without high shear stress and heat generation. Airlift bioreactors are often applied in the culture of shear-sensitive microorganisms, methanol production, waste water treatment, etc. Fixed-bed bioreactors consist of solid catalyst particles being loaded and packed into the bed, and provide excellent cell growth conditions for adherent cells. In addition, there are many other types of bioreactors, such as bubble column bioreactors, rotating-drum bioreactors, membrane bioreactors, and photobioreactors. Amerigo Scientific offers a variety of specifications, versatility and superior design of bioreactors and fermenters to provide an optimal and controlled environment for biological and chemical reactions to meet different research or manufacturing needs.

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