Bacterial co-cultures in fermentation scale-up
Fermentation processes are used in the production of various chemicals, fuels, and pharmaceuticals. However, the scale-up of a promising production scheme to an economically viable large-scale process is hampered by mass and heat transfer limitations that manifest themselves in altered metabolism of the production host and in suboptimal yield of the desired product.
In nature most, if not all, microbes exist in communities, which often are resistant to external perturbations. Inspired by the robustness of natural microbial communities, this project explores whether simultaneous use of two bacterial strains instead of one could alleviate the issues encountered in scale-up. The performance of bacterial co-cultures in a large-scale reactor will be evaluated by numerical simulations utilizing heterogeneous, compartmental reactor models, bioreaction kinetics, and population balances. Furthermore, large-scale co- and monoculture fermentations will be simulated in the laboratory using scale-down experiments.