CHAPTER 30 Industrial Microbiology. Industrial Microorganisms and Product Formation Industrial Microorganisms and Their Products. The actual reactions carried out by microorganisms in industrial microbiology are called biocatalysis ( Figure 30.1 ).
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Industrial microbiology uses microorganisms, typically grown on a large scale, to produce valuable commercial products or to carry out important chemical transformations.
An industrial microorganism must produce the product of interest in high yield; grow rapidly on inexpensive culture media available in bulk quantities; be amenable to genetic manipulation; and, if possible, be nonpathogenic. There are many industrial products, including both cells and substances made by cells.
Primary metabolites are produced during active cell growth, and secondary metabolites are produced near the onset of stationary phase (Figure 30.2).
Large-scale industrial fermentation presents several engineering problems. Aerobic processes require mechanisms for stirring and aeration.
The microbial process must be continuously monitored to ensure satisfactory yields of the desired product.
Fermentation scale-up is the process of gradually converting a useful industrial fermentation from laboratory scale to production scale. Aeration is a particularly critical aspect to monitor during scale-up studies.
Once new producers are identified, purification ( screening for antibiotic producers (Figure 30.8) and chemical analyses of the antimicrobial agent are performed.
If the new antibiotic is biologically active in vivo, the industrial microbiologist may genetically modify the producing strain to increase yields to levels acceptable for commercial development.
Cephalosporins are valued clinically not only because of their low toxicity but also because they are broad-spectrum antibiotics, useful against a wide variety of bacterial pathogens.
If the penicillin fermentation is carried out without addition of side-chain precursors, the natural penicillins are produced. The fermentation can be more directed by adding to the broth a side-chain precursor so that only one desired penicillin is produced.
The product formed under these conditions is referred to as a biosynthetic penicillin. To produce the most useful penicillins, those with activity against gram-negative Bacteria, a combined fermentation and chemical approach is used that leads to the production of semisynthetic penicillins.
Vitamins produced microbially include vitamin B12 and riboflavin (Figure 30.12).
The most important amino acids produced commercially are glutamic acid, aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and lysine (Figure 30.13).
Aspartic acid and phenylalanine are the ingredients of the artificial sweetener aspartame, a non-nutritive sweetener of diet soft drinks and other foods sold as low-calorie or sugar-free products.
High yields of amino acids are obtained by modifying regulatory signals that control synthesis of the particular amino acid such that overproduction occurs.
Microbial biotransformation employs microorganisms to biocatalyze a specific step or steps in an otherwise strictly chemical synthesis (Figure 30.14).
Microorganisms are ideal for the large-scale production of enzymes. Many enzymes are used in the laundry industry to remove stains from clothing, and thermostable and alkalistable enzymes have many advantages in these markets.
Certain enzymes are produced in large amounts by some organisms, and instead of being held within the cell, they are excreted into the medium.
The term regulatory signals that control synthesis of the particular amino acid such that overproduction occurs.extremozyme has been coined to describe enzymes that function at some environmental extreme, such as high temperatures or low pH (Figure 30.15). Enzymes from extremophiles are desirable for biocatalyses under extreme conditions.
For some biocatalytic processes, it is desirable to fix soluble enzymes onto a solid surface. These are called immobilized enzymes (Figure 30.16).
Alcoholic beverages are produced by yeast from the fermentation of sugar to ethyl alcohol and CO2.Wine is produced from grape juice (Figure 30.18), beer from fermentation of malted grain (brewing), and distilled beverages from the distillation of fermented solutions.
Commodity alcohol is used as a gasoline additive and industrial solvent.
The active ingredient in vinegar is acetic acid, which is produced by acetic acid bacteria oxidizing an alcohol-containing fruit juice (Figure 30.22).
Adequate aeration is the most important consideration in ensuring a successful vinegar process.
A number of organic chemicals are produced commercially by use of microorganisms, of which the most important economically is citric acid, produced by Aspergillus niger (Figure 30.24).
Yeast cells are grown for use in the baking and food industries (Table 30.5).
Commercial yeast is produced in large-scale aerated fermentors using molasses as the main carbon and energy source (Figure 30.25).
The most important food produced from a microorganism is the mushroom, which is produced not for its protein but for its flavor.