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Uptake of lactose and continuous lactic acid fermentation by entrapped non-growing Lactobacillus helveticus in whey permeate

Oyaas, J., Storro, I., Levine, D.W.
Applied microbiology and biotechnology 1996 v.46 no.3 pp. 240-249
Lactobacillus helveticus, biomass, calcium alginate, half life, lactic acid, lactic fermentation, lactose, mass transfer, mathematical models, whey
Continuous production of lactic acid from lactose has been carried out in a stirred-tank reactor with non-growing Lactobacillus helveticus entrapped in calcium alginate beads. A considerably longer operation half-life was obtained in a continuously operated reactor than in a batch-operated reactor. It is possible to simulate the action of entrapped non-growing cells on the basis of information from diffusion and kinetic experiments with suspended free cells. The simulation fit the experimental data over a broad range of substrate concentrations if the specific lactic acid production rate, qp, was used as a variable parameter in the model. The dynamic mathematical model used is divided into three parts: the reactor model, which describes the mass balance in a continuously operated stirred-tank reactor with immobilized biomass, the mass-transfer model including both external diffusion and internal mass transfer, and the kinetic model for uptake of substrate on the basis of a Michaelis-Menten-type mechanism. From kinetic data obtained for free biomass experiments it was found, with the use of non-linear parameter estimation techniques, that the conversion rate of lactose by L. helveticus followed a Michaelis-Menten-type mechanism with Ks at half-saturation = 0.22 +/- 0.01 g/l. The maximum specific lactose uptake rate for growing cells, qs, max, varied between 4.32 +/- 0.02 g lactose g cells -1 h-1 and 4.89 +/- 0.02 g lactose g cells -1 h-1 The initial specific lactose uptake rate for non-growing cells, qs, 0, was found to be approximately 40% of the maximum specific lactose uptake rate for growing cells.