AQA Biology GCSE: Unit 3 Fermenters

Summary of fermenters, unit 3 biology.

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  • Created on: 20-05-11 10:46
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The definition for fermentation is any process during which microorganisms use
an external food source to obtain energy, chemically changing the medium. The
term fermenter is also defined as a vessel used to cultivate microorganisms for
Microorganisms are used to make drugs. These have extremely complicated
molecules and are produced only in tiny amounts by microorganisms. To make
the large quantities needed they must be grown on a large scale in fermenters.
Fermenters can hold up to 2000000 litres. Conditions are monitored to keep the
microorganisms at the correct stage of their growth. Most organisms used in
fermenters are aerobic they require oxygen. In these cases the fermenter is well
aerated by first filtering the air, then feeding in the air at the base of the
fermenter. The air then bubbles up through
Industrial fermenters usually have:
· An air supply to provide oxygen for respiration of the microorganisms.
· A stirrer to keep the microorganisms in suspension and maintain an even
· A watercooled jacket to remove excess heat produced by the respiring
Microorganisms. Steam is blown up through the liquid if conditions are too cold.
· Instruments to monitor factors such as PH and temperature these are then
adjusted to ensure conditions remain optimum for the enzymes in the organism
being grown.
· Everything needs to be sterile (air, fermenter, nutrients) to ensure that there are
no unwanted microbes that may:
Make toxic waste products
Be pathogenic
Compete with the cultured microbes for food or oxygen.

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The graph
above shows bacterial growth for `reallife' conditions, not the suitable,
convenient conditions we give microbes in an industrial fermenter. If we kept
conditions in a fermenter to a `reallife' standard, then we would not get the
medicine, or product that we need. Bacteria are not cheap it would cost a lot of
money to replace bacteria every few weeks. That makes it very important to
keep the bacteria in the ideal conditions.…read more


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